I propose to take Questions Nos. 307 and 310 together.
My Department received a submission from Clare County Council, dated 23 July 2021, requesting the extension of the Defective Concrete Blocks Grant scheme to County Clare. A response issued to the Council on 3 August 2021 indicating that my Department would review the submission and it also sought a detailed breakdown of costs associated with the Report. A breakdown of costs associated with the Report was received on 28 September 2021.
In order to progress matters a meeting was held on 9 November 2021 between officials from my Department and Clare County Council to review issues which require further elaboration in order to evidentially support an extension of the defective concrete blocks grant scheme to County Clare.
Clare County Council undertook to review their submission in light of the discussion which took place and address the gaps in evidential data which have been identified by my Department. In that regard, the relevant local authority are to continue to take the lead, build on the good work to date and demonstrate damage which has been documented has manifested due to the presence of reactive pyrite, which is crucial for applicants in the existing scheme.
My Department is eager to progress this matter and to that end, issued a correspondence to Clare County Council on the 6 December 2021 outlining formally the nature of clarifications sought.
Any extension of the Scheme to Clare and indeed other local authority areas was considered as part of wider deliberations on the Scheme by Government. To that end, I brought a memorandum to Government on 30 November 2021, setting out proposals for improvements to the existing Scheme. Included as part of these improvements, I as Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage, may, with Government approval, extend the scheme beyond the counties of Donegal and Mayo to additional counties, where the evidence supports such an extension.
On receipt by my Department of the clarifications sought, progress can be made on the requested extension of the scheme to County Clare.