Thursday, 11 February 2021

Questions (91)

Jennifer Whitmore

Question:

91. Deputy Jennifer Whitmore asked the Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage his plans to encourage local authorities to provide communities with temporary access to publicly owned land that is lying idle for the benefit of local community purposes such as allotments, community gardens and other outdoor uses given the continuation of Covid-19 regulations; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [7525/21]

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Written answers (Question to Housing)

Section 67 of the Local Government Act 2001 provides that a local authority may take measures or engage in activities that it considers necessary to promote the interests of the local community in relation to matters such as allotments, fairs or markets, and the public use of amenities, to name just a few.

While the relevant legislative provisions come under my remit, I have no function in terms of directing local authorities regarding the operation of local authority allotments or community gardens.

Local authorities are entirely independent corporate entities having full responsibility under law for the performance of their functions. The question of allowing communities temporary access to publicly owned land is a matter that is proper to each local authority while taking full account of the wider public health guidance and advice from the Department of Health and the National Public Health Emergency Team (NPHET) in the context of the ongoing implementation and management of public health measures.