Tuesday, 3 February 2004

Ceisteanna (338, 339, 340, 341, 342)

Jack Wall

Ceist:

467 Mr. Wall asked the Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government the reason he did not engage in prior consultation with interested parties or commission economic and social impact studies before the announcement regarding Magee barracks in Kildare. [3121/04]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Jack Wall

Ceist:

499 Mr. Wall asked the Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government the number of meetings he has had with local community groups in Kildare in regard to the decision to provide housing at McGee barracks, Kildare; if his attention has been drawn to the fact that the Minister for Defence agreed with these groups that a certain acreage of the site would be provided for county activity; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [3133/04]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Jack Wall

Ceist:

500 Mr. Wall asked the Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government if he will explain the rationale for the proposal to build solid and affordable housing at McGee barracks, Kildare; when this property was designated in the Kildare development plan for balanced and mixed developments; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [3134/04]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Jack Wall

Ceist:

501 Mr. Wall asked the Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government the position of the proposal to provide affordable and social housing in McGee barracks Kildare; the number of meetings his Department has had with Kildare County Council in relation to the matter; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [3135/04]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Jack Wall

Ceist:

503 Mr. Wall asked the Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government the position of his Department and Kildare County Council in regard to the breakdown of the approximately 60 acres deemed for housing needs at McGee barracks, Kildare as to the acreage for affordable housing against the acreage for social housing; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [3138/04]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 467, 499 to 501, inclusive, and 503 together.

The affordable housing initiative forms part of the housing and accommodation special initiative under the national pay agreement, Sustaining Progress. The parties to the pay agreement proposed the new initiative with the objective of increasing the supply of affordable housing by 10,000 units thereby meeting the needs of those persons currently priced out of the housing market. In response to this proposal, the Government committed to an ambitious scale of delivery of affordable housing coming through this initiative and arrangements under Part V of the Planning and Development Act 2002. National pay agreements form an integral role in the social and economic development of the country and the ratification of Sustaining Progress, including the affordable housing initiative, displays the Government's commitment to this development.

To ensure progress on this ambitious initiative the Government undertook to examine the best use of resources at its disposal, which included the housing potential of under-utilised State lands. Following from this process, Magee barracks in Kildare was identified as one of the sites which has the potential to deliver housing for this initiative.

I understand from Kildare County Council that the process of engaging consultants to prepare an area action plan for Magee barracks will commence shortly. I also understand that Kildare County Council has met with one representative group and a number of elected members, informing them of the process involved. As part of the planning process, there will be time for public consultations to allow all views to be considered over the content of the area action plan. Following the relevant processes, the area action plan will be then made available to the elected members for their consideration and adoption. As with any area action plan, issues such as sustainable development, facilities, the number and mix of dwelling units, will be considered and addressed.

I welcome this initiative as another means of bringing more affordable housing on stream and work on implementing this initiative is progressing as a priority.