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Local Authority Charges

Dáil Éireann Debate, Wednesday - 11 January 2012

Wednesday, 11 January 2012

Ceisteanna (564, 565, 566, 567, 568)

Heather Humphreys

Ceist:

561 Deputy Heather Humphreys asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government if he will consider instructing county councils to reduce the cost of development levies in the centre of towns to stimulate economic activity; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [1199/12]

Amharc ar fhreagra

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

The adoption of development contribution schemes is a reserved function of the elected members of local authorities. My Department provides a policy guidance framework for development contributions which is designed to draw the attention of local authorities to their obligations under the legislation, while also recognising that the adoption of development contribution schemes remains a reserved function. My Department is preparing updated guidance for local authorities on the issue of development contributions which will recommend that they, inter alia, consider reduced rates of development contributions or waivers for development in town centres to support town centre development.

Maureen O'Sullivan

Ceist:

562 Deputy Maureen O’Sullivan asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government how an 88 year old person with Alzheimer’s residing in a special hospital for the past six months can be expected to pay the household charge of €100, as due to his or her illness he or she cannot recognise and understand documents or use a computer to register on-line; and if he will consider this case and others like it as eligible for an exemption. [1210/12]

Amharc ar fhreagra

I appreciate the difficult circumstances of this case.

Under the Local Government (Household Charge) Act 2011 owners of residential property are liable to pay the household charge. There are a number of exemptions and waivers from payment of the household charge. In particular, section 4 provides for an exemption where a residential property is left vacant by an owner on the liability date by reason of his/her long term mental or physical infirmity and that person is residing in another property that he/she does not own. Subsection 6 of section 4 defines the meaning of "long term mental or physical infirmity" as requiring the person to vacate the property in which he/she had been dwelling for a continuous period of more than 12 months and provides that such an infirmity must be certified by a registered practitioner. I understand that the Alzheimer Society of Ireland offers a range of services and advice for people with Alzheimer's disease, their families and carers. The Alzheimer Society of Ireland may be contacted at 1800 341 341 and at http://www.alzheimer.ie.

Dominic Hannigan

Ceist:

563 Deputy Dominic Hannigan asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government if wards of courts who own their own homes are exempt from the household charge; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [1222/12]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Billy Timmins

Ceist:

567 Deputy Billy Timmins asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government the classes of person who will be exempted from the household charge and the category of person that will be exempted from the septic tank charge; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [1274/12]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Robert Dowds

Ceist:

577 Deputy Robert Dowds asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government if he will exempt home owners from the €100 household charge if they have to pay management fees for their estates. [1369/12]

Amharc ar fhreagra

I propose to take Questions Nos. 563, 567 and 577 together.

The Local Government (Household Charge) Act 2011 provides for a number of exemptions and waivers from payment of the household charge. The exemptions from payment of the household charge are—

Residential properties that are part of the trading stock of a business and have not been sold or been the source of any income since construction,

Residential property owned by a Minister of the Government, a housing authority or the Health Service Executive,

Voluntary and co-operative housing,

Residential property to which commercial rates apply,

Residential property owned by a charity or a discretionary trust, and

Residential property which an owner has vacated due to long-term mental or physical infirmity (e.g. elderly person that has moved into a nursing home).

The waivers which apply concern —

Owners of residential property entitled to mortgage interest supplement, and

Owners of houses in certain unfinished housing estates.

There are no exemptions or waivers in the legislation in respect of persons who are wards of court or those who have to pay management fees for their estates.

The Water Services (Amendment) Bill 2011 includes a provision which requires the owners of premises connected to a domestic wastewater treatment system to ensure that the system is registered with their local authority. I will be making regulations setting the level of the fee payable by an owner when applying to register following the enactment of the legislation. The Bill provides that the fee will not exceed €50. There are no plans to exempt any categories of persons from the registration fee.

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