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Departmental Strategies

Dáil Éireann Debate, Thursday - 14 January 2021

Thursday, 14 January 2021

Questions (101)

Christopher O'Sullivan


101. Deputy Christopher O'Sullivan asked the Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage the main policy initiatives undertaken by his Department since 27 June 2020; and his main priorities for 2021. [2088/21]

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Written answers (Question to Housing)

The Programme for Government, Our Shared Future, is the foundation for my Department's main policy initiatives.  The Department has commitments across 10 of the 12 Missions in the Programme.  The Department's website is a good source of information about activities and initiatives but by way of illustration, in addition to significant initiatives undertaken to manage the impact of COVID-19 and to prepare for Brexit, some of the key actions delivered since 27 June 2020 included:

- the extension of the Rebuilding Ireland Home Loan;

- the extension of the Pyrite Remediation Scheme to include the administration area of Limerick;

- the development of a new Cost Rental Equity Loan;

- the delivery of the largest voids programme to date;

- an increased budget to support local authority homeless programmes and Covid-19 enhanced services;

- the commencement of work on the strategy for social housing delivery, including target setting, for the 2022-2025 period as part of the Department's lead role in the development of the new Housing for All strategy;

- the establishment, with the Department of Rural and Community Development, of a Town Centre First inter-Departmental Group (IDG) on the regeneration of towns and villages;

- increased funding for the Built Heritage Investment Scheme and the Historic Structures Fund; and 

- the prioritisation of the Marine Planning and Development Bill and the Land Development Agency Bill.

My Department's Statement of Strategy for the period 2021-2025 is currently being finalised.  Grounded in the Programme for Government commitments, but also drawing from other relevant over-arching plans such as the National Planning Framework and the Climate Action Plan, the Strategy will set out our strategic goals, objectives and actions for the period ahead.  Thought not an exhaustive list, key priorities for 2021 include:

- the Affordable Housing Bill;

- continued development of the 'Housing for All' initiative

- the continuation of social housing reform;

- a review of rent controls and rent affordability;

- examining the issue of defective housing;

- establishment of the Regulatory Authority for Approved Housing Bodies; 

- the planned review of the NPWS; 

- a new national heritage plan - Heritage Ireland 2030; 

- publication of a new draft River Basin Management Plan;

- legally establish the Land Development Agency as a commercial State body; 

- continued development of the National Marine Planning Framework; 

- further development of the national Flood Forecast Centre;

- the establishment of an Electoral Commission; and

- the development of legislation to allow the first directly elected mayor in Limerick to be elected.