Urban Regeneration and Development Fund

Questions (50)

David Cullinane

Question:

50. Deputy David Cullinane asked the Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage the timeline for delivery of the funding for the North Quays from the urban regeneration and development fund; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [37828/20]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Housing)

Under Call 1 of the Urban Regeneration and Development Fund in 2018, Waterford City and County Council received an initial allocation of €6m for the North Quays project.

This URDF supported project consists of largely transport focused infrastructure works that will open up the City’s North Quays site for the development of commercial and residential land with direct sustainable access to the City Centre and intercity locations.

My Department has been working closely with Waterford City and County Council to assist in their development and advancement of this high cost and complex proposal. Through the URDF my Department has already recouped €5.7m in respect of costs incurred by Waterford City and County Council on the planning and development of this project.

On 10 November 2020, I announced the approval of €80.6m in URDF support for the project. This is part of a Government approved package of €110.6m in Exchequer support for the project, which also includes €30m committed by the National Transport Authority.

It should be noted that the advancement and completion of this project is, in the first instance, a matter for Waterford City and County Council, and that further URDF funding will recouped to the local authority as the project advances through the various stages of its development.

My Department will be writing formally to Waterford City and County Council shortly to confirm the arrangements and conditions attached to the recently announced URDF support.

Home Loan Scheme

Questions (51)

Eoin Ó Broin

Question:

51. Deputy Eoin Ó Broin asked the Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage the number of Rebuilding Ireland home loan drawdowns to date in 2020 in each local authority; and the average amount drawn down in each local authority in tabular form. [38311/20]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Housing)

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).

Figures for the first two quarters of 2020 are available on my Department's website and I will arrange for the relevant weblink to be circulated with the official record.

[Weblink to be included with the official record:]

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

Housing Estates

Questions (52)

Denis Naughten

Question:

52. Deputy Denis Naughten asked the Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage if the taking in charge of housing estates process will be reviewed; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [38207/20]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Housing)

Section 180 of the Planning and Development Act 2000, as amended provides for the taking in charge of housing developments by local authorities. The legislation sets out the process to be followed when a development is considered to have been satisfactorily completed, as well as where it has not been completed to the satisfaction of the planning authority.

The Planning and Development (Amendment) Act 2018 made some amendments to the relevant provisions to further strengthen and streamline the taking-in-charge process. This included that planning authorities are required to have specific regard to previous developments by a developer which have not been satisfactorily completed as well as any previous convictions against the developer for non-compliance with the Planning Act, the Building Control Act 2007 and the Fire Services Act 1981, when assessing and determining new applications. Furthermore, section 35 of the Act - which relates to refusal of planning permissions for past failures - has been strengthened to empower the refusal of planning permission in situations where a developer has previously left an estate unfinished under one company name and then applies for permission for a new development under a different company name.

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

Housing Policy

Questions (53)

Emer Higgins

Question:

53. Deputy Emer Higgins asked the Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage the status of the age friendly strategy; the actions being taken to build on housing options for our ageing population; the funding that has been allocated to address policy aims of housing for the older population as part of budget 2021; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [38430/20]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Housing)

The Deputy helpfully clarified that her question referred to our joint policy statement 'Housing Options for Our Ageing Population' which was published by my Department and the Department of Health in February 2019. This statement builds on policy for the housing of older people as outlined in the National Planning Framework 2040. It sets out forty actions incorporating six principles from which the strategic planning for housing for our ageing population are derived.

An implementation Group, which is representative of the relevant stakeholders, was established to oversee these actions. In addition, four subgroups were established to examine actions from the policy statement under specific work streams.

The first progress report of the implementation group is published on the websites of both Departments and the Group's second report will be published shortly.

A sum of €915,000 has been allocated by my Department for 2021 to fund current and capital expenditure on actions arising from this programme and I will be in a position to consider further funding into the future once I have seen the final recommendations from the group.

The implementation group was scheduled to provide its final report to both Ministers by the end of 2020, however, it was agreed at its meeting in October 2020 to extend the group until March 2021, to take note of the impact the Covid-19 pandemic has had on completing various actions.

Homeless Accommodation

Questions (54, 357)

Cian O'Callaghan

Question:

54. Deputy Cian O'Callaghan asked the Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage the person or body that inspects private homeless hostels to ensure support services for persons who have become homeless are provided and to ensure that standards are met in the delivery of these support services; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [38184/20]

View answer

Cian O'Callaghan

Question:

357. Deputy Cian O'Callaghan asked the Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage when the National Quality Standards Framework will be implemented in private hostels that have been contracted to provide accommodation for persons who have become homeless; the way in which this will be implemented given the absence of professional support workers; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [38516/20]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Housing)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 54 and 357 together.

The National Quality Standards Framework (NQSF) for homeless services is in place nationally for local authority and NGO delivered services.

Local authorities carry out inspections on facilities that are not covered under the Framework. For example, The Dublin Regional Homeless Executive, that has responsibility for over 70% of all homeless persons nationally has Standards and Facilities Teams to oversee all emergency accommodation and seek to ensure that all relevant guidelines, policies and procedures are complied with.

The DRHE has an inspection regime in place to deal with complaints and to ensure accommodation is appropriate and safe. This includes engaging with homeless families and individuals on issues arising in their accommodation.

I understand that since January 2020, the DRHE has carried out 126 unannounced inspections of privately operated emergency accommodation facilities. Monitoring and inspections are also carried out in accommodation facilities by other key stakeholders such as the HSE and Tusla.

Guidelines for Service Users in Emergency Accommodation were recently reviewed by the DRHE and issued to clients in private emergency accommodation. The DRHE has assured me that it has a thorough complaints procedure in place, and that each complaint is fully investigated and addressed in a timely manner.

Separate to the service standards expected of providers via service level agreements, all homeless service providers must meet the requirements of statutory codes, in particular the requirements of the Safety, Health and Welfare at Work Act 2005 and the Fire Services Acts.

Social and Affordable Housing

Questions (55)

Richard Boyd Barrett

Question:

55. Deputy Richard Boyd Barrett asked the Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage his plans to ensure that public land, zoned for housing, will be developed as 100% social and affordable housing in view of the ongoing housing crisis; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [38403/20]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Housing)

The Programme for Government confirms the priority to increase the supply of social and affordable homes. In the first instance, it is a matter for housing authorities to bring forward optimum proposals for the delivery of housing on their sites maximising the potential from the suite of delivery mechanisms and Exchequer funding streams available from my Department.

Supporting these commitments, Budget 2021 provides a record €3.3 billion for the delivery of housing programmes. This represents an increase of €641m or 24% on 2020. Overall 50,000 new social homes are planned for delivery over the next 5 years, 12,500 of which are targeted for delivery next year including 9,500 new builds.

I am also providing Capital funding of €468 million specifically to cover affordability measures including two new affordable housing schemes - the Affordable Purchase Shared Equity Scheme and the Cost Rental Equity Loan Facility. These will build on existing schemes to provide more affordable homes to purchase and rent in 2021. The Services Sites Fund is also being expanded and accelerated to help local authorities deliver up to 6,200 more affordable homes from their land.

Taken together, this will see a fundamental refocusing towards the delivery of social and affordable housing working with local authorities and other delivery partners.

Social and Affordable Housing

Questions (56)

Richard Boyd Barrett

Question:

56. Deputy Richard Boyd Barrett asked the Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage the details of the upcoming affordable housing scheme; the cost of affordable to buy homes; the eligibility criteria for the homes; the scheme of allocations for cost rental homes; the system for deciding the rents on the homes; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [38401/20]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Housing)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 56 and 58 together.

The Programme for Government makes clear our commitments to provide measures for good-quality housing to purchase or rent at an affordable price. In providing Capital of €468 million towards programmes that will support affordability, Budget 2021 backed up our intentions to deliver on these commitments.

From this sum, €110 million was ring-fenced for two new national schemes to designed to deliver more affordable housing the Affordable Purchase Shared Equity Scheme and the Cost Rental Equity Loan facility to help deliver Cost Rental homes. Both of these programmes will begin in 2021.

€75 million will be allocated to the affordable purchase shared equity scheme. I intend to target the scheme at first time buyers, who are seeking to buy a new home but who cannot quite secure the full mortgage amount to do so at the present time. Subject to the final qualifying criteria, the scheme would see the State take a limited equity stake in a property, in order to help more people meet the cost of buying a new home with their available mortgage.

To this end, significant preparatory work has already been carried out by my Department working primarily with the Housing Agency and the Department of Finance. Intensive engagement continues with key stakeholders informing the final detailed parameters of the scheme, as well as with home builders to seek to increase the output of new homes in response to the new scheme.

In addition, €35m has been allocated to the new Cost Rental Equity Loan (CREL) facility to support Approved Housing Bodies (AHBs) to deliver approximately 350 Cost Rental homes at scale from next year. This scheme will leverage the proven expertise and capacity of the AHBs, demonstrated in their development and management of social housing units. It will allow cost-covering rents to be set a lower level and so making them more affordable for tenants. Further details on the scheme will be announced in due course.

In addition to these new schemes, I will also progress and accelerate the local authority led scheme to deliver more affordable homes for purchase and rent on public land. The statutory basis for the delivery of affordable new housing for purchase on local authority lands is Part 5 of the Housing (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 2009. The broad parameters of this scheme will be as follows: aimed at first-time buyers who are low to middle households; homes will be subject to a maximum statutory discount of 40% (relative to the market price), and the local authority maintains a repayable equity share in the properties equivalent to the percentage discount given

Furthermore, €310m is available to local authorities for Serviced Sites infrastructure funding that will support the delivery of up to 6,200 new homes that will be made available under this scheme. The first SSF project that will be deliver affordable homes will be Boherboy Road in Cork City in early next year.

The precise eligibility conditions are currently being developed in light of the on-going policy analysis outlined. I intend to bring forward any necessary provisions to underpin these schemes in a forthcoming Affordable Housing Bill which will be brought to Government in the coming weeks.

Other measures, such as the Help to Buy Scheme and the Rebuilding Ireland Home Loan, are also available to eligible purchasers nationally to make home ownership more affordable.

Social and Affordable Housing

Question No. 58 answered with Question No. 56.

Questions (57)

Mick Barry

Question:

57. Deputy Mick Barry asked the Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage if he will increase the number of houses built through direct build local authority construction in view of the large difference in the cost between local authority direct builds and so called turn-key purchases; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [38333/20]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Housing)

The advancement of social housing delivery on a local basis is the responsibility of each individual local authority and they seek to secure the maximum amount of social housing through a range of approaches that represent value for money, speed of delivery and that meet the needs of those on the waiting lists.

The Programme for Government commits to increasing the social housing stock by more than 50,000, the majority of which will be new build social homes by local authorities. Significant funding is available to all local authorities to help bolster their social housing stock and in Budget 2021, the total funding for the delivery of housing programmes is €3.3 billion.

The delivery of local authority-own designed projects on their own sites has been increasing as a proportion of overall social housing delivery and in addition, many local authorities have worked successfully with the construction sector to source delivery of new social homes through turnkey solutions.

Turnkey developments can represent good value for money and can help deal with other issues such as unfinished estates. Ultimately, the homes delivered are newly constructed and become permanent social housing. They are particularly beneficial where local authorities have limited or no lands available to deliver housing in the immediate term in an area of high demand.

Across all local authorities, and all unit types the choice between local authority-led projects and turnkeys needs to be evaluated taking account of factors such as location, house types, specification, abnormal costs, site costs, etc.

Moving forward, in line with the Programme for Government, the majority of the 50,000 new social homes will be new build social homes by local authorities.

Question No. 58 answered with Question No. 56.

EU Regulations

Questions (59)

Matt Carthy

Question:

59. Deputy Matt Carthy asked the Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage his plans for implementing the European Commission REACH Committee’s regulation that would ban the use of lead gunshot; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [31221/20]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Housing)

Notwithstanding our reservations on the draft Regulation in relation to the transition period for implementation, Ireland did indicate at the most recent meeting of the REACH committee in September last that, as we are committed to phasing out lead shot in and around wetlands, we would support the draft Regulation. A vote was taken at the meeting on the draft Regulation and it was passed by the necessary majority by Member States with Ireland voting to support the measure. The draft Regulation will now be sent to the Council and European Parliament for scrutiny.

My Department will maintain consultation with relevant interests including hunting and farming organisations in the coming period in relation to implementation of the draft Regulation should it become law.

Local Authority Housing

Questions (60)

Bernard Durkan

Question:

60. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage the extent to which affordable local authority housing is being adequately provided for the numbers currently on the local authority waiting lists in view of the difficulties being experienced by young families seeking a home; if he has been in contact with the local authorities that currently have the most serious housing waiting lists with a view to a renewed campaign to deal with the issue; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [38275/20]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Housing)

Increasing the supply of housing, particularly social and affordable is a priority for this Government. The Programme for Government commits to increasing the social housing stock by more than 50,000, with an emphasis on new builds.

In Budget 2021, the total funding being made available for the delivery of housing programmes is €3.3bn. This investment will ensure that the housing needs of over 28,500 households are met. The available funding will deliver 12,750 social homes through build, acquisition and leasing. A major focus of this investment is the delivery of new build, with an overall target of 9,500 new homes. The build target includes the delivery of 5,250 new homes by local authorities, 2,950 by Approved Housing Bodies and 1,300 new homes through Part V.

I am working very closely with the Housing Delivery Coordination Office and the local authorities on the implementation of measures to deliver housing solutions for households on the social housing waiting list. I have established a High Level Housing Delivery Group, which includes representatives from the City and County Management Association, the Housing Delivery Coordination Office, Approved Housing Bodies and the Irish Council for Social Housing. The Delivery Group provides a forum for engagement with key housing delivery partners to support the implementation of the commitments on housing delivery in the Programme for Government.

Homelessness Strategy

Questions (61)

Mick Barry

Question:

61. Deputy Mick Barry asked the Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage the measures he plans to take to reduce homelessness; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [38334/20]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Housing)

The Programme for Government, Our Shared Future, commits to reducing and preventing homelessness and provides detail on how the Government is approaching this work as a priority. This year, we are seeing a reduction in the numbers of people in emergency accommodation.

Homelessness is complex and causal factors and family circumstances vary considerably as do the responses needed. Homelessness is also inter-related with the other areas of the housing system and indeed with broader social and healthcare policy and service delivery. Therefore, a whole of Government approach is required in dealing with this ongoing challenge.

In terms of my own Department's areas of responsibility one of the key issues to be addressed in dealing with homelessness is to increase the supply of housing, particularly for those on the lowest incomes. To this end, the Programme for Government commits to the increased supply of public, social and affordable homes. In particular, we commit to increasing the social housing stock by more than 50,000 homes with an emphasis on new builds.

The Programme for Government also recognises that many households experiencing homelessness have additional support needs and includes specific measures to address these needs. These include measures to help rough sleepers into sustainable accommodation, the continued expansion of Housing First, with a focus on the construction and acquisition of one-bed homes, and, importantly, ensuring that there are dedicated funding and resources to deliver the necessary health and mental health supports required to assist homeless people with complex needs.

Covid-19 Pandemic

Questions (62, 82)

Richard Boyd Barrett

Question:

62. Deputy Richard Boyd Barrett asked the Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage if he will extend the eviction ban until the end of the Covid-19 pandemic; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [38399/20]

View answer

Bríd Smith

Question:

82. Deputy Bríd Smith asked the Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage if he will be extending the ban on evictions at the end of the current level 5 restrictions; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [38323/20]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Housing)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 62 and 82 together.

The Residential Tenancies Act 2020 was enacted and came into operation on 24 October 2020 to help mitigate the impact of Covid-19 on tenants and to support the efforts of Government in restricting the movement of people in order to suppress the spread of Covid 19. The Act modifies the operation of the Residential Tenancies Acts 2004-2020 to prevent any notices of termination served by landlords, in all but limited cases such as anti-social behaviour, from taking effect in geographical locations and during periods specified by the Minister for Health in Regulations made by him under section 31A of the Health Act 1947 in respect of which a restriction applies on the movement of people outside a 5 km radius of their place of residence.

The Health Act 1947 (Section 31A - Temporary Restrictions) (Covid-19) (No. 8) Regulations 2020 (S.I. 448 of 2020) came into effect on 22 October 2020 and are expected to expire on 1 December 2020.

The enhanced tenancy protections under the Residential Tenancies Act 2020 are designed to operate when most needed by tenants during times of the most severe restrictions on people's movements. Guidance and Frequently Asked Questions documents - Residential Tenancies and Valuation Act 2020: What this Means for Landlords and Tenants is available on the RTB’s website - www.rtb.ie .

Separately, the provisions of the Residential Tenancies and Valuation Act 2020 which came into effect from 1 August 2020, provide enhanced protections for those tenants who are facing rent arrears due to Covid-19 and, as a result, are at risk of losing their tenancy. If a tenant’s ability to pay rent has been impacted by Covid-19 and the tenant meets specific criteria, new procedures and protections under that Act apply. Tenants who follow these procedures cannot be required to vacate their rental accommodation before 11 January 2021, and are not required to pay any rent increase in respect of the period ending 10 January 2021.

My Department has published a guidance document, the Residential Tenancies and Valuation Act 2020: What this Means for Landlords and Tenants, which sets out exactly what is expected as the rental protections under the Emergency Measures in the Public Interest (Covid-19) Act 2020 expire, and provides details on the new protections for tenants in rent arrears and the income and other supports available to tenants and landlords. This guidance document clearly explains the new rent arrears procedure for both landlords and tenants facing rent arrears. The Guidance document is available on the Department's website - www.housing.gov.ie - and on the RTB's website - www.rtb.ie.

Mortgage Lending

Question No. 64 answered with Question No. 48.

Questions (63)

Aindrias Moynihan

Question:

63. Deputy Aindrias Moynihan asked the Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage the options under consideration for middle income families who cannot secure sufficient mortgages in circumstances in which financial institutions will not take their rental payments into consideration on their applications; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [38326/20]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Housing)

Whilst the operations of financial institutions and their implementation of the Central Bank’s Macro Prudential rules is not a matter for my Department, I would like to outline measures I am taking to deliver more affordable housing options.

In Budget 2021, funding of €110 million was ring-fenced for two new schemes including a national Affordable Purchase Shared Equity Scheme and a Cost Rental Equity Loan facility to help deliver Cost Rental homes. Both of these programmes will begin in 2021.

€75 million will be allocated to the affordable purchase shared equity scheme. I intend to target the scheme at first time buyers, who are seeking to buy a new home but who cannot quite secure the full mortgage amount to do so at the present time. Subject to the final qualifying criteria, the scheme would see the State take a limited equity stake in a property, in order to help more people meet the cost of buying a new home with their available mortgage.

To this end, significant preparatory work has already been carried out by my Department working primarily with the Housing Agency and the Department of Finance. Intensive engagement continues with key stakeholders informing the final detailed parameters of the scheme, as well as with home builders to seek to increase the output of new homes in response to the new scheme.

In addition, €35m has been allocated to the new Cost Rental Equity Loan (CREL) facility to support Approved Housing Bodies (AHBs) to deliver approximately 350 Cost Rental homes at scale from next year. Added to the 50 Cost Rental homes that will be delivered in Enniskerry Road, Stepaside in Q3 2021, it will accelerate delivery in this new sector in advance of the Land Development Agency's planned future output and the work of local authorities. This scheme will leverage the proven expertise and capacity of the AHBs, demonstrated in their development and management of social housing units. The CREL scheme will allow cost-covering rents to be set at a lower level and so making them more affordable for tenants. Further details on the scheme will be announced in due course.

In addition to these new schemes, I will also progress and accelerate the local authority led scheme to deliver more affordable homes for purchase and rent on public land. The statutory basis for the delivery of affordable new housing for purchase on local authority lands is Part 5 of the Housing (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 2009, which was commenced in June 2018. Following engagement with the local authority sector, it is my intention to bring forward a number of legislative amendments to underpin this scheme in a forthcoming Affordable Housing Bill.

The broad parameters of the local authority led Affordable Purchase Scheme will be as follows

- aimed at first-time buyers who are low to middle households;

- homes purchased under the scheme will be subject to a maximum statutory discount of 40% (relative to the market price), with the final price of the affordable homes to be linked to the cost of provision, on a site by site basis, and

- the local authority maintains a fully repayable equity share in the properties equivalent to the percentage discount given

Furthermore, €310m is available to local authorities for Serviced Sites infrastructure funding that will support the delivery of up to 6,200 new homes that will be made available under this scheme. The first SSF project that will be deliver affordable homes will be Boherboy Road in Cork City in early next year.

It is envisaged that the homes delivered under all of the above schemes will be made available to applicants who meet defined eligibility criteria. The precise eligibility conditions are currently being developed in light of the on-going policy analysis outlined. I intend to bring forward any necessary provisions to underpin these schemes in a forthcoming Affordable Housing Bill which will be brought to Government in the coming weeks.

The Land Development Agency (LDA) will play an increasingly significant role in the delivery of more affordable housing, as promised in the Programme for Government. The LDA is currently developing 9 sites that have near-term delivery potential for 3,600 new homes, the majority of which will be for Cost Rental and affordable purchase. It is also engaged in the progression of a number of other sites with potential for significant housing output. In the longer term, it will assemble strategic land-banks from a mix of public and private lands, making these available for housing in a controlled manner, which will bring essential long-term stability and sustainability to the Irish housing system.

Other measures, such as the Help to Buy Scheme and the Rebuilding Ireland Home Loan, are also available to eligible purchasers nationally to make home ownership more affordable.

An enhanced Help to Buy scheme was announced as part of the €7 billion July stimulus package, which was extended to December 2021 as part of Budget 2021. This allows first-time buyers purchasing a newly-built home – or building one themselves – to claim back up to €30,000 paid in income tax and DIRT on bank deposit interest over the last four years. Full details of the Help to Buy initiative are available on the Revenue website.

The Rebuilding Ireland Home Loan is a Government-backed mortgage which is for first-time-buyers nationwide to purchase a new or second-hand home or to self-build. This scheme offers loans on competitive terms to those who are unable to secure a commercial bank loan. Full details of the scheme are available on the Rebuilding Ireland Home Loan website.

Question No. 64 answered with Question No. 48.

Social and Affordable Housing

Questions (65, 92, 129)

Pádraig O'Sullivan

Question:

65. Deputy Pádraig O'Sullivan asked the Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage if further information will be provided regarding the new affordable purchase scheme as announced in budget 2021; if a timeline is in place for same; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [37830/20]

View answer

Aindrias Moynihan

Question:

92. Deputy Aindrias Moynihan asked the Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage the options under consideration for affordable housing for middle income families who cannot secure sufficient mortgages to buy their own home; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [38325/20]

View answer

Paul McAuliffe

Question:

129. Deputy Paul McAuliffe asked the Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage his plans for a national affordable housing scheme; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [38481/20]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Housing)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 65, 92 and 129 together.

In Budget 2021, €75 million was ring-fenced for the national affordable purchase shared equity scheme. I intend to target the scheme at first time buyers, who are seeking to buy a new home but who cannot quite secure the full mortgage amount to do so at the present time. Subject to the final qualifying criteria, the scheme would see the State take a limited equity stake in a property, in order to help more people meet the cost of buying a new home with their available mortgage.

To this end, significant preparatory work has already been carried out by my Department working primarily with the Housing Agency and the Department of Finance. Intensive engagement continues with key stakeholders informing the final detailed parameters of the scheme, as well as with home builders to seek to increase the output of new homes in response to the new scheme.

It is envisaged that the homes delivered under this scheme, supported by Government investment, will be made available to applicants who meet defined eligibility criteria. The precise eligibility conditions are currently being developed in light of the engagement outlined.

In addition to this new scheme, I will also progress and accelerate the local authority led scheme to deliver more affordable homes for purchase and rent on public land. The statutory basis for the delivery of affordable new housing for purchase on local authority lands is Part 5 of the Housing (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 2009, which was commenced in June 2018. The broad parameters of the local authority led Affordable Purchase Scheme will be as follows;

- aimed at first-time buyers who are low to middle households;

- homes purchased under the scheme will be subject to a maximum statutory discount of 40% (relative to the market price), with the final price of the affordable homes to be linked to the cost of provision, on a site by site basis, and

- the local authority maintains a fully repayable equity share in the properties equivalent to the percentage discount given

Furthermore, €310m is available to local authorities for Serviced Sites infrastructure funding that will support the delivery of up to 6,200 new homes that will be made available under this scheme. The first SSF project that will be deliver affordable homes will be Boherboy Road in Cork City in early next year.

Following engagement with the local authority sector, it is my intention over the coming weeks to bring forward a number of legislative amendments to Part 5 provisions in an Affordable Housing Bill and to put in place any necessary provisions to underpin the new national affordable purchase scheme.

The Land Development Agency (LDA) will also play an increasingly significant role in the delivery of more affordable housing. The LDA is currently developing 9 sites that have near-term delivery potential for 3,600 new homes, the majority of which will be for Cost Rental and affordable purchase.

Other measures, such as the Help to Buy Scheme and the Rebuilding Ireland Home Loan, are also available to eligible purchasers nationally to make home ownership more affordable.

An enhanced Help to Buy scheme was announced as part of the €7 billion July stimulus package, which was extended to December 2021 as part of Budget 2021. This allows first-time buyers purchasing a newly-built home – or building one themselves – to claim back up to €30,000 paid in income tax and DIRT on bank deposit interest over the last four years. Full details of the Help to Buy initiative are available on the Revenue website.

The Rebuilding Ireland Home Loan is a Government-backed mortgage which is for first-time-buyers nationwide to purchase a new or second-hand home or to self-build. This scheme offers loans on competitive terms to those who are unable to secure a commercial bank loan. Full details of the scheme are available on the Rebuilding Ireland Home Loan website.

Urban Regeneration and Development Fund

Question No. 67 answered with Question No. 44.

Questions (66)

Alan Dillon

Question:

66. Deputy Alan Dillon asked the Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage the level of funding he plans to allocate to the urban regeneration and development fund 2020 projects; when he plans to deliver this funding; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [38321/20]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Housing)

The Urban Regeneration and Development Fund (URDF) is the largest of four funds established under the National Development Plan 2018-2027 and has an allocation of €2 billion to 2027, primarily to support the NPF’s growth enablers for the five cities and other large urban centres. The €150m URDF funding provision announced for 2021 will support continuing progress on the first tranche of 87 URDF supported projects approved under Call 1 as well as supporting the advancement of a further tranche of projects under Call 2 of the programme.

Call 2 for proposals under the Urban Regeneration and Development Fund was launched earlier this year. Seventy-six proposals were received, with every local authority submitting at least one application for URDF support. Because of the nature of the URDF programme the proposals are very complex, and each will require detailed assessment.

The assessment process is presently under way. It is intended that a new tranche of approved proposals, which will augment the existing pipeline of projects from Call 1 and contribute to the achievement of Programme for Government commitments and the objectives of the National Planning Framework and Project Ireland 2040, will be announced before the end of the year.

Question No. 67 answered with Question No. 44.

Rental Accommodation Scheme

Questions (68, 96)

Aengus Ó Snodaigh

Question:

68. Deputy Aengus Ó Snodaigh asked the Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage when he will announce the specifics of a new affordable rental scheme. [38315/20]

View answer

Brian Stanley

Question:

96. Deputy Brian Stanley asked the Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage his plans to roll out cost-rental housing projects in various regions of the country. [38268/20]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Housing)

This Government is committed to ensuring that affordable, quality housing solutions are available to everyone in Irish society, and this is reflected in the Programme for Government “Our Shared Future”. The Programme commits to putting affordability at the heart of the housing system through the progression of State-backed affordable housing, including the development of a Cost Rental model.

Cost Rental is housing where the rents cover only the costs of delivering, managing, and maintaining the homes. It represents a new form of rental tenure for Ireland.

Cost Rental is intended to complement social housing in building mixed, sustainable communities. Work to outline the consistent and sustainable delivery of Cost Rental at scale has been undertaken through an inter-departmental multi-agency Cost Rental Working Group. It is also being assisted by an external research project sponsored by the European Investment Bank (EIB) on behalf of my Department.

In Budget 2021 some €35m was allocated to the new Cost Rental Equity Loan (CREL) to support Approved Housing Bodies (AHBs) to deliver approximately 350 Cost Rental homes next year. The CREL will leverage the proven expertise and capacity of the AHBs, demonstrated in their development and management of social housing units. Added to the 50 Cost Rental homes that will be delivered in Enniskerry Road, Stepaside in Q3 2021, this scheme will accelerate delivery in this new sector. This is in advance of the Land Development Agency's planned future output and the delivery of local authority Cost Rental homes.

The initial Cost Rental pilot projects currently under development are located in densely populated urban centres where rental affordability pressures are particularly acute and where State resources can have the biggest impact in assisting people who are paying highest rents.

It is envisaged that these homes, supported by Government investment, will be made available to applicants who meet defined eligibility criteria. The precise eligibility conditions are currently being developed in light of the on-going policy analysis outlined. Any Cost Rental conditionality will be set in advance of the completion of the first projects, and any necessary legislative provisions to underpin the sector will be incorporated in a forthcoming Affordable Housing Bill.

Housing for People with Disabilities

Questions (69)

Peadar Tóibín

Question:

69. Deputy Peadar Tóibín asked the Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage the number of houses that have been procured or built by the State for persons with disabilities in each of the past five years in each county. [38201/20]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Housing)

Increasing the supply of housing is a priority for this Government and the Programme for Government commits to ensuring an appropriate mix of housing design types is provided, including universally designed units, accommodation for older people and people with disabilities. Significant work is ongoing both through the implementation of the Housing Options for our Ageing Population policy statement and the National Housing Strategy for People with a Disability to ensure that housing is appropriately designed for these needs.

During the period 2016-2019, my Department provided almost €2.1 billion to local authorities to deliver new social homes, including new homes for people with disabilities. This included funding provided to local authorities under my Department’s Capital Assistance Scheme (CAS), to support the delivery by Approved Housing Bodies of new social homes for priority groups including people with a disability.

Local authorities make provision for new housing for people with a disability in their own new build housing programmes. My Department does not hold specific details in relation to the number of individual houses built or procured for persons with disabilities in each local authority during this period. However, this information should be available from the individual local authorities

Social and Affordable Housing

Questions (70)

Cian O'Callaghan

Question:

70. Deputy Cian O'Callaghan asked the Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage his assessment of the cost effectiveness of the use of long-term leasing as a method of Part V delivery; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [38483/20]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Housing)

Section 96(3) of the Planning and Development Act, 2000 (as amended) sets out 6 types of Part V agreement that may be made with respect to lands that are subject to a residential development pursuant to a relevant planning permission, which include:

1. Transfer of up to 10% of the land that is the subject of the application;

2. Build and transfer of up to 10% of the proposed housing units;

3. Transfer of housing units on any other land in the functional area of the planning authority;

4. Lease of housing units either on the site subject to the application or in any other area within the functional area of the planning authority;

5. A combination of a transfer of a lesser part of the land that is the subject of the application and one or more of the other options; and

6. A combination of options not involving a transfer of the ownership of land.

The Part V Guidelines issued in January 2017 under section 28 of the Planning and Development Act 2000 set out that, in overall terms, the priority option which should normally be pursued by Local Authorities is the acquisition of social housing on the development site, by means of transfer of ownership to the Local Authority or to an Approved Housing Body and this remains the case.

Circular PL 11/2016 and Circular Housing 04/2020 outlined scenarios where it may be appropriate to enter into a leasing arrangement for Part V units, including for build to rent developments. These Circulars clearly state that the priority remains the acquisition of completed units. It should be noted, however, that the decision is one for the local authority, as per the provisions of Section 96(3)(c) and (h) of the Planning and Development Act, 2000 (as amended).

Wind Energy Guidelines

Questions (71)

Richard Bruton

Question:

71. Deputy Richard Bruton asked the Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage the steps which remain to be completed in order to sign the new guidelines for renewable generation at windfarms; and if he will set a deadline for when they will enter force. [37956/20]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Housing)

My Department is currently undertaking a focused review of the 2006 Wind Energy Development Guidelines in line with the “preferred draft approach” which was announced in June 2017 by the then Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government, in conjunction with the then Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment. The review is addressing a number of key aspects including sound or noise, visual amenity setback distances, shadow flicker, community obligation, community dividend and grid connections.

As part of the overall review process, a strategic environmental assessment (SEA) is being undertaken on the revised Guidelines before they come into effect, in accordance with the requirements of European Union Directive 2001/24/EC on the assessment of the effects of certain plans and programmes on the environment, otherwise known as the SEA Directive. SEA is a process by which environmental considerations are required to be fully integrated into the preparation of plans and programmes which act as frameworks for development consent, prior to their final adoption, with public consultation as part of that process.

As part of the SEA process, the previous Minister launched a ten-week public consultation on the draft revised Wind Energy Development Guidelines on 12 December 2019. The documents prepared for consultation are available on my Department's website at the following link: https://www.housing.gov.ie/guidelines/wind-energy/public-consultation-revised-wind-energy-development-guidelines .

The consultation closed on 19 February 2020. Almost 500 submissions were received as part of the public consultation, many of which are extremely detailed and technical in nature. My Department, in conjunction with the Department of the Environment, Climate and Communications (DECC), is currently analysing the submissions received.

Finalised Guidelines will be prepared following detailed analysis and consideration of the submissions received during the consultation phase, and the conclusion of the SEA process. The Department, in consultation with DECC, is endeavouring to finalise and publish the revised Guidelines as quickly as possible.

When finalised, the revised Guidelines will be issued under section 28 of the Planning and Development Act 2000, as amended. Planning authorities and, where applicable, An Bord Pleanála, must have regard to guidelines issued under section 28 in the performance of their functions generally under the Planning Acts. In the meantime, the current 2006 Wind Energy Development Guidelines remain in force.

Housing Policy

Questions (72, 88, 372)

Pádraig O'Sullivan

Question:

72. Deputy Pádraig O'Sullivan asked the Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage the status of plans to introduce a social housing passport scheme to allow households to move from one local authority list to another; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [37831/20]

View answer

Paul McAuliffe

Question:

88. Deputy Paul McAuliffe asked the Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage his plans to introduce a social housing passport to allow households move from one local authority list to another; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [38482/20]

View answer

Steven Matthews

Question:

372. Deputy Steven Matthews asked the Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage if he will report on the commitment in the programme for Government to introduce a social housing passport that would allow households move from one local authority list to another local authority list; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [38651/20]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Housing)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 72, 88 and 372 together.

The Programme for Government provides for a package of social housing reforms, including the introduction of a social housing passport to allow households move from one local authority list to another.

It should be noted that the four Dublin local authorities already co-operate in arrangements that enable social housing applicants to apply for housing in one or two of the other Dublin authorities simultaneously. Similar arrangements apply in the two Cork and two Galway local authorities. It is also already possible for households to move and relocate between housing authority areas under the Housing Assistance Payment (HAP) Scheme where the household income is within the appropriate income limits.

The issue of providing for wider tenancy movements is being examined and I will look at proposals in relation to such wider movement along with the other reform package measures.

Social and Affordable Housing

Question No. 74 answered with Question No. 45.

Questions (73)

Imelda Munster

Question:

73. Deputy Imelda Munster asked the Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage if funding will be released for the building of public housing on 50 acres of council owned zoned landbanks in County Louth; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [38272/20]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Housing)

I believe that everybody should have access to good-quality housing to purchase or rent at an affordable price and that home ownership should be a realistic aspiration for people. To this end, the Programme for Government confirms that the Government will prioritise the increased supply of social and affordable homes.

Delivering on these commitments, Budget 2021 provided for an overall investment of €3.3 billion for the delivery of housing programmes. This represents an increase of €641m or 24% on 2020 and the single biggest annual spend on housing by any Government. 50,000 new social homes are planned for delivery over the next 5 years; 12,500 of which are targeted for delivery next year including 9,500 new builds.

Budget 2021 also provided for two new schemes; the Affordable Purchase Shared Equity Scheme and the Cost Rental Equity Loan facility. These will build on exiting schemes and provide more affordable homes to purchase and rent in 2021. Furthermore, the Services Sites Fund is being expanded and accelerated to help local authorities deliver up to 6,200 more affordable homes from their land.

Taken together, this delivery sees a fundamental refocusing towards the delivery of social and affordable housing.

The Programme for Government commitment is to increase the social housing stock by more than 50,000 over the next 5 years. Local authorities will play a key role in delivering on this commitment.

Louth County Council has a strong pipeline of projects projected to deliver 771 new homes in 2020 and 2021. My Department will continue to provide funding and other support to Louth County Council to further develop this build pipeline on lands in the ownership of the Council. My Department will also continue to engage with the Council on the development of new project proposals.

Question No. 74 answered with Question No. 45.

Traveller Accommodation

Questions (75)

Aodhán Ó Ríordáin

Question:

75. Deputy Aodhán Ó Ríordáin asked the Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage the breakdown of accommodation provided under the Traveller accommodation scheme in 2018, 2019 and to date in 2020 by each local authority alongside targets in their Traveller accommodation programme for these years in tabular form. [38472/20]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Housing)

The Housing (Traveller Accommodation) Act, 1998 requires each local authority to develop, adopt and implement 5-year rolling accommodation programmes to accelerate the provision of accommodation for Travellers. The fourth Traveller Accommodation Programme (TAP) adopted early in 2014 ran from January 2014 to December 2018. To align the TAP to run concurrently with the term of office of elected Councils, the 5th round of Traveller Accommodation Programmes were deferred by Ministerial direction, beginning instead in July 2019, covering the 5-year period from 1st July 2019 until 30th June 2024.

Annual Progress Reports measure local authority provision of Traveller accommodation in a given year against the target for that year as contained in their TAP. TAP targets and outputs include figures for delivery of accommodation for Travellers across the range of accommodation options available to Travellers and is not limited to Traveller-specific accommodation.

Figures for 2018 are set out in tabular form below.

The period from January 2019 to July 2019 was outside a TAP period and as a result there were no targets set for this period. However local authorities have been requested to report output for this period now along side targets and output for the first year of the 5th Programme which ended in June 2020. These reports are currently being complied.

The next reporting period will cover the second year of the 5th TAP from July 2020 to June 2021.

2018 Target-Output

Local Authority

Target

Output

Carlow County Council

7

6

Cavan County Council

8

26

Clare County Council

9

33

Cork City Council

0

5

Cork County Council

8

15

Donegal County Council

6

15

Dublin City Council

62

58

Dun Laoghaire Rathdown County Council

12

11

Fingal County Council

30

36

Galway City Council

17

23

Galway County Council

20

58

Kerry County Council

28

27

Kildare County Council

11

34

Kilkenny County Council

11

23

Laois County Council

11

9

Leitrim County Council

7

13

Limerick City and County Council

15

36

Longford County Council

22

20

Louth County Council

16

6

Mayo County Council

14

21

Meath County Council

19

26

Monaghan County Council

8

5

Offaly County Council

15

15

Roscommon County Council

4

12

Sligo County Council

9

17

South Dublin County Council

52

20

Tipperary County Council

12

18

Waterford City and County Council

6

10

Westmeath County Council

7

10

Wexford County Council

26

33

Wicklow County Council

6

34

Total

478

675

Local Authority Housing

Questions (76)

Brian Stanley

Question:

76. Deputy Brian Stanley asked the Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage if he plans to change the practice by which development of council housing starts from a blank canvas design and to move to having generic designs for the various sizes and types of houses required whether that is one, two, three or four-bed units. [38267/20]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Housing)

In the interest of standardising the approach to good quality social housing design across the country and achieving value for money a number of initiatives have been identified.

In September 2019, the Employers Requirements document was published and issued to local authorities. This document provides clarity as to the general standards for materials, finishes and fittings to be provided in social housing. In setting the standards a balance is struck between initial capital costs, reasonable life expectancy and foreseeable maintenance costs during the lifetime of the dwelling. The document also sets out guidance on completion of tender documents, for best cost and programme control.

Separately and in addition, my officials are compiling standard internal layouts for social housing. This involves the development of quality economic design guidance and sample internal layouts for a variety of house types and apartments that meet the target floor areas. This work also includes sample site layouts illustrating efficient design in 2 – 4 storey developments. This work is nearing completion in draft format and it is intended to circulate it, for consultation, to local authorities before the end of this year.

Údaráis Áitiúla

Questions (77)

Éamon Ó Cuív

Question:

77. D'fhiafraigh Deputy Éamon Ó Cuív den Aire Tithíochta, Rialtais Áitiúil agus Oidhreachta an bhfuil i gceist aige cur i ngníomh an dlí maidir le cúrsaí pleanála sa Ghaeltacht a phlé leis na Príomh-Oifigigh Feidhmiúcháin ó na hÚdaráis Áitiúla a bhfuil ceantar Gaeltachta ina gceantair feidhme; agus an ndéanfaidh sé ráiteas ina thaobh. [38361/20]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Housing)

Tá bonn reachtúil le cur i bhfeidhm leanúnach an phróisis phleanála teanga faoi Acht na Gaeltachta 2012, arb é an príomhspreagadh é chun tacú leis an dtiomantas i leith na gcuspóirí atá leagtha amach sa Straitéis 20 Bliain don Ghaeilge 2010 go 2030.

Aithnítear é seo sa Chreat Pleanála Náisiúnta (NPF), a thagraíonn d’ullmhúchán agus do chur i bhfeidhm pleananna teanga ag leibhéal an phobail. Tacaíonn Cuspóir 29 den NPF “le pleananna teanga a chur i bhfeidhm i Limistéir Phleanála Teanga Ghaeltachta, Bailte Seirbhíse Gaeltachta agus Líonraí Gaeilge”.

At leithligh, leagtar amach san Acht um Pleanáil agus Forbairt 2000 arna leasú, cuspóirí éigeantacha d’údaráis áitiúla, nach mór aghaidh a thabhairt orthu i ndréachtú a bPlean Forbartha Contae a rialaíonn beartais forbartha áitiúla. Cuimsíonn Alt 10(2) den Acht um Pleanáil agus Forbairt ceanglas, i gcás go bhfuil limistéar Gaeltachta laistigh de chríoch an údaráis phleanála, go gcaithfidh forálacha agus cuspóirí a bheith san áireamh sa phlean forbartha ar mhaithe le “oidhreacht theangeolaíoch agus chultúrtha na Gaeltachta a chosaint, lena n-áirítear an Ghaeilge a chur chun cinn mar theanga an phobail”.

Chun treoir bhreise a sholáthar maidir le beartais chuí a ullmhú, chuir mo Roinn ‘Pleananna Forbartha, Treoirlínte d’Údaráis Phleanála,’ le chéile chun aghaidh a thabhairt ar an gcuspóir éigeantach seo den Acht um Pleanáil agus Forbairt. Tagraíonn na treoirlínte seo d’oidhreacht theangeolaíoch agus chultúrtha agus do riachtanais an phobail i dtéarmaí úsáide talún le haghaidh tithíochta, áiseanna pobail, fostaíocht, turasóireacht agus dearadh, lena n-áirítear fógraíocht agus comharthaíocht.

D’fhéadfadh pleananna forbartha aonair iachall a chur ar iarrthóirí ar chead pleanála sonraí nó eolas áirithe a chur isteach le dul le tairiscintí forbartha i gceantair Ghaeltachta, ar nós measúnuithe ar thionchar teanga na forbartha beartaithe, d’fhonn go ndéanfar é a mheas i gcoinne beartais ábhartha an phlean forbartha.

Ó Aibreán 2019, déanann Oifig an Rialtóra Pleanála (OPR) measúnú ar gach plean forbartha údaráis áitiúil agus plean ceantair áitiúil. Cuimsíonn ról maoirseachta an OPR comhsheasmhacht a chinntiú le beartais náisiúnta nó réigiúnacha ábhartha, lena n-áirítear iad siúd atá leagtha amach san NPF agus aghaidh a thabhairt ar na cuspóirí éigeantacha ábhartha go léir do Phleananna Forbartha Contae atá leagtha amach san Acht um Pleanáil agus Forbairt, lena n-áirítear soláthar cuspóirí a bhaineann go sonrach leis an nGaeltacht, nuair is gá.

D’fhéadfadh go n-áireofaí i bhfeidhmeanna reachtúla seo an OPR moladh don Aire Tithíochta, Rialtais Áitiúil agus Oidhreachta ordú a thabhairt sa deireadh d’údarás pleanála plean reachtúil a leasú nó a chúlghairm, faoi nósanna imeachta a leagtar amach in Alt 31 den Acht um Pleanáil agus Forbairt 2000. Cuimsíonn cúinsí den sórt sin nuair a theipeann ar údaráis áitiúla glacadh le beartais a léiríonn seasamh foriomlán an bheartais náisiúnta nó nuair a sháraítear na ceanglais reachtúla faoi Alt 10 den Acht.

Maidir le haon chás ar leith a bhféadfadh údarás pleanála nó An Bord Pleanála a bheith bainteach leis m.sh. breithniú ar aon iarratas pleanála, táim faoi réir srianta maidir le haon chumhacht nó smacht a fheidhmiú, lena n-áirítear trácht nó ráitis a dhéanamh, faoi Alt 30 den Acht um Pleanáil agus Forbairt 2000. Áirítear leis seo inniúlacht, nó eile, daoine aonair chun doiciméadúchán nó pleananna ábhartha a ullmhú mar chuid de phróiseas pleanála.

Mar sin féin, is féidir liom a chur in iúl go ginearálta go gcaithfidh údarás pleanála fógra a thabhairt don Aire Gnóthaí Pobail, Tuaithe agus Gaeltachta (an tAire Meán, Turasóireachta, Ealaíon, Cultúir, Spóirt agus Gaeltachta) agus Údarás na Gaeltachta, chun a dtuairimí a lorg maidir le hiarratais ar phleanáil d’fhorbairtí a d’fhéadfadh, i dtuairim an údaráis “tionchar ábhartha a bheith acu ar oidhreacht theangeolaíoch agus chultúrtha na Gaeltachta, lena n-áirítear cur chun cinn na Gaeilge mar theanga an phobail” de réir Airteagail 28 de Rialacháin Phleanála agus Fhorbartha (arna leasú).

Is ceist don údarás pleanála ábhartha nó don Bhord Pleanála sa deireadh an cinneadh cead pleanála a dheonú nó a dhiúltiú i gcásanna den sórt sin, agus coinníollacha a shannadh, lena n-áirítear coinníollacha a bhaineann le teanga nuair is cuí, le cead pleanála a dheonú. Cuimsíonn sé seo tairiscintí forbartha ar nós eastáit thithíochta nó tithe saoire. Táim muiníneach go bhfuil na húdaráis ar an eolas go hiomlán faoina bhfreagrachtaí maidir le coinníollacha a shannadh do chead pleanála agus níl sé i gceist agam ciorclán a eisiúint ag an am seo.

Táim den tuairim agus mé ag smaoineamh ar na cúinsí spásúla agus teangeolaíochta uathúla a bhaineann le gach ceann dár gceantair Ghaeltachta, le héagsúlacht áitiúil idir pobail agus na comhthéacsanna ina labhartar Gaeilge, gurb iad na húdaráis phleanála ábhartha an dream is fearr chun an creat reachtaíochta, beartais agus treorach a chur i bhfeidhm mar atá leagtha amach thuas. Táim sásta chomh maith go bhfuil meicníochtaí agus cosaintí maoirseachta pleanála cuí i bhfeidhm, lena n-áirítear Oifig an Rialtóra Pleanála agus An Bord Pleanála.

Mar sin féin, d’ardaigh roinnt grúpaí Gaeilge, lena n-áirítear Conradh na Gaeilge, na hábhair seo liom agus bhuail mé go déanaí le Conradh na Gaeilge chun a n-imní a phlé. Tá breithniú á dheanamh agam ar a gcuid tairiscintí faoi láthair.

Local Authority Funding

Questions (78, 111)

Christopher O'Sullivan

Question:

78. Deputy Christopher O'Sullivan asked the Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage the details of the rebate received to date by Cork County Council; and the actions he has taken to provide assurance to local authorities in 2021. [38281/20]

View answer

Michael Moynihan

Question:

111. Deputy Michael Moynihan asked the Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage the details of the rebate received to date by Cork County Council; and the actions he has taken to provide assurance to local authorities in 2021. [38284/20]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Housing)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 78 and 111 together.

Recognising the difficulties faced by businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic, the Programme for Government – “Our Shared Future” committed to set out how commercial rates would be treated for the remainder of 2020. One of the earliest priorities of Minister O'Brien and I was to secure funding to provide a waiver of commercial rates for businesses impacted by the pandemic, while simultaneously supporting local authorities.

€600m was allocated by Government to fund the cost of a six-month waiver of rates from 27 March to 27 September 2020. The Government subsequently announced a three month extension of the waiver until 27 December 2020, at an additional cost of €300m. This brings to €900m the financial support to fund the cost of a waiver of commercial rates, which is an unprecedented measure that offers support to businesses and certainty to local authorities.

Full details of payments to date are available at the following link:

https://www.housing.gov.ie/local-government/covid-19-coronavirus/support-businesses-impacted-covid-19-through-commercial-0

The local authority budget process for 2021 is now underway. In that context, Minister O'Brien and I recently wrote to each local authority to advise that, in light of the fact that the future trajectory of Covid-19 is unclear, it is not currently possible for Government to make open-ended commitments in respect of commercial rates or other income pressures that may arise in 2021. However, as has been the case since the outset of the Covid-19 pandemic, my Department will continue to engage regularly and constructively with the local government sector and with individual local authorities on the financial impacts of the pandemic and other matters arising.

Housing for People with Disabilities

Questions (79)

Michael Moynihan

Question:

79. Deputy Michael Moynihan asked the Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage his plans to provide additional supports to allow persons living with a disability to remain in their own homes. [38283/20]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Housing)

My Department provides funding every year for the Disabled Persons Grant (DPG) scheme and the Housing Adaptation Grants for Older People and People with a Disability scheme. While both schemes are administered directly by the local authorities they operate independently with separate funding streams, the main differences being the type of properties eligible for funding and the level of local authority contribution.

DPG funding is provided for adaptations and extensions to existing social housing stock to meet specific needs of the local authority tenants with a 10% contribution required from the local authority, while the Housing Adaptation Grants address specific needs of older people and people with a disability in privately owned homes with a 20% contribution required from the local authority.

A total of €18 million has been made available under the DPG scheme for 2020.

For 2020, total funding of €73.75 million has been made available for the Housing Adaptation Grants for Older People and People with a Disability scheme for private houses.

An overall funding package of €93 million will be available in 2021 for the carrying out of home adaptation works for both private and social homes, thereby facilitating people with disabilities and older people to continue to live in their own homes and communities for as long as possible.