Water Safety

Ceisteanna (321)

Maureen O'Sullivan

Ceist:

321. Deputy Maureen O'Sullivan asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government the number of applicants for beach lifeguard positions who failed the initial tests; if they were all informed in time regarding the retest; his views on whether an organisation (details supplied) should not be examining its own members. [22121/16]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Environment)

My Department has been advised by Irish Water Safety that they train and certify approximately 5,000 lifeguards each year to best international practice and that their certification processes are designed to be fair, transparent and equal for all candidates. These qualifications are listed on the equivalency and recognition tables of the International Life Saving Federation at; http://www.ilsf.org/certification/equivalency-tables.

Some 450 lifeguards are employed by local authorities during the summer bathing season.  Irish Water Safety tests several hundred qualified lifeguards around the country on behalf of those local authorities employing lifeguards at beaches, rivers or lakes.

Candidates undergo pool-based water and Basic Life Support tests, and all candidates who achieve a pass mark in both disciplines are listed in order of merit for each local authority area.

An Irish Water Safety Examiner from a county other than the local authority where the candidates are being examined, oversees these examinations. The list of applicants who have failed is compiled by Irish Water Safety and that list is sent to each Local Authority.  The Water Safety Development Officer or HR Department in each relevant Local Authority would inform candidates if they have failed and when the re-test takes place.

The list of qualifying candidates is sent to each local authority for final selection and appointment of the lifeguards required by the local authority. Under section 159 of the Local Government Act 2001, each Chief Executive is responsible for the staffing and organisational arrangements necessary for carrying out the functions of the local authority for which he or she is responsible.

Illegal Dumping

Ceisteanna (322)

Pat Casey

Ceist:

322. Deputy Pat Casey asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government the status of the funding of the PURE project, protecting uplands and rural environment; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [22217/16]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Environment)

The Protecting Uplands and Rural Environments (PURE) initiative was established in 2006 to combat illegal dumping/fly-tipping in the Wicklow/Dublin Uplands. PURE is a partnership project and incorporates statutory and non-statutory organisations, including Wicklow, Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown and South Dublin County Councils, Coillte, National Parks and Wildlife Service, and the Wicklow Uplands Council. My Department, through the Environment Fund, has provided funding of over €966,000 to PURE since its inception. The progress and success of the PURE project has been evaluated a number of times in 2008, 2011 and 2014. The current agreement, for the period 2015-2016, provides for an allocation of some €180,000.

PURE will shortly submit a Project Evaluation Report for the 2015-2016 period to my Department. It is anticipated that PURE will also submit a formal proposal for an extension of the project. Any such proposal, when received, will be considered then with regard to the most recent evaluation report, and the availability of funding from the Environment Fund.

Local Authority Staff Recruitment

Ceisteanna (323)

Bobby Aylward

Ceist:

323. Deputy Bobby Aylward asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government the efforts being made within his Department to fill all vacant local authority arts officer positions; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [22295/16]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Environment)

As announced in Budget 2015, the moratorium on recruitment has been lifted throughout the local authority sector. Under section 159 of the Local Government Act 2001, each Chief Executive is responsible for the staffing and organisational arrangements necessary for carrying out the functions of the local authorities for which he or she is responsible. It is therefore, a matter for each individual Chief Executive to apply for sanction from my Department and, once approved, to recruit and assign staff to specific divisions within their organisation.

My Department has no sanction requests on hand for Arts Officers.

Constituency Boundaries

Ceisteanna (324)

Seán Haughey

Ceist:

324. Deputy Seán Haughey asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government his plans to revise the Dáil constituency boundaries following census 2016; the terms of reference for the new commission; if he has a timescale to finalise this process; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21947/16]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Environment)

Immediately following the publication of the preliminary results of Census 2016 by the Central Statistics Office on 14 July 2016, and in accordance with the provisions of Section 5 of the Electoral Act 1997, I made an Order establishing a Constituency Commission to review Dáil and European Parliament constituencies.

The function of the Constituency Commission is to make a report on the constituencies for the election of members of the Dáil and the members of the European Parliament having regard to Article 16 of the Constitution and to the terms of reference set out in section 6(2) of the Electoral Act 1997.

The Commission is required to report to the Chairperson of the Dáil no later than three months after the publication by the Central Statistics Office of the final population results, which are expected in March 2017.

Traveller Accommodation

Ceisteanna (325)

Robert Troy

Ceist:

325. Deputy Robert Troy asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government when he will sanction funding to Westmeath County Council for 14 new Traveller residential units at Blackberry Lane, Athlone, County Westmeath. [22008/16]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Environment)

In accordance with the Housing (Traveller Accommodation) Act 1998, housing authorities have statutory responsibility for the assessment of the accommodation needs of Travellers and the preparation, adoption and implementation of multi-annual Traveller Accommodation Programmes (TAPs) in their areas. My Department’s role is to ensure that there are adequate structures and supports in place to assist the authorities in providing such accommodation, including a national framework of policy, legislation and funding.

In 2014, local authorities adopted the fourth round of Traveller Accommodation Programmes, with the five-year rolling accommodation programmes running from 2014 to 2018. These programmes provide a road map for local authority investment priorities over the period. They also form the basis for the allocation of funding from my Department for Traveller accommodation, on foot of proposals received from local authorities and subject to approval from my Department.

Proposals in relation to development at the halting site at Blackberry Lane, Athlone have been received from Westmeath County Council and are being examined by my Department. In order to expedite consideration of the proposals, my Department is currently in discussion with the Council to clarify a number of issues.

Water and Sewerage Schemes Funding

Ceisteanna (326)

Pearse Doherty

Ceist:

326. Deputy Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government when he will allocate funding approved under the rural water programme in 2015 to a group water scheme (details supplied) in County Donegal following the suspension of the project by the local authority; if he is aware of the large number of houses, community facilities and businesses in the locality that are awaiting connection to this group water scheme; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [22021/16]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Environment)

Donegal County Council has included the Group Water Scheme in question in its application to my Department for funding under the new Rural Water Multi-Annual Funding Programme for the period 2016 to 2018. My Department is currently considering local authorities' bids for funding and allocations to authorities for funding under the new programme will be provided shortly.

Private Rented Accommodation Data

Ceisteanna (327)

Ruth Coppinger

Ceist:

327. Deputy Ruth Coppinger asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government if he has carried out any independent research into residential landlords' costs, in particular for landlords with no mortgage on their property. [22037/16]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Environment)

The Residential Tenancies Board (RTB) published two major reports on the private rented sector in 2014. The first report, entitled Rent Stability in the Private Rented Sector, examines the potential for rent regulation in an Irish context and considers a number of policy options in that regard. The second report, entitled Future of the Private Rented Sector, explored the policy options required to ensure a sustainable private rented sector into the future.

These companion reports include an examination of the composition and current tax treatment of the rental sector, together with a review of the business and costs of landlords. The results of a RED C survey of landlords, estate agents and tenants are also detailed in the reports.

The report entitled Future of the Private Rented Sector is available on the RTB website at the following link:- http://www.rtb.ie/docs/default-source/pdf-manuals/future-of-the-private-rented-sector.pdf?sfvrsn=0 .

The report entitled Rent Stability in the Private Rented Sector is available on the RTB website at: - http://www.rtb.ie/docs/default-source/pdf-manuals/rent-stability-in-the-private-rented-sector.pdf?sfvrsn=0.

Departmental Funding

Ceisteanna (328)

Ruth Coppinger

Ceist:

328. Deputy Ruth Coppinger asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government the State funding provided by his Department and agencies under its remit, including to local authorities to non-profit or non-governmental organisations for each year from 2008 to 2015. [22038/16]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Environment)

My Department has a wide and diverse business agenda, including providing necessary housing supports and fostering community development in partnership with local government and other local development bodies. In order to deliver on this broad business agenda, my Department allocates significant resources to a wide range of organisations, including local authorities, dedicated agencies and non-statutory bodies, as well as to individuals.

The information requested, relating to payments over an eight year period, is not readily available in my Department and its compilation would involve a disproportionate amount of time and work. If the Deputy wishes to put down a more specific question in the area of funding from my Department, I will endeavour to provide the information sought.

Departmental Funding

Ceisteanna (329)

Ruth Coppinger

Ceist:

329. Deputy Ruth Coppinger asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government the State funding provided by his Department and agencies under its remit, including local authorities to Anew and its predecessor organisations Anchora and Life Pregnancy Care for each year from 2008 to 2015; and his views on the role of that organisation in providing crisis pregnancy counselling to homeless women given the statement in its constitution recognising the uniqueness of every human life from the moment of conception. [22039/16]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Environment)

My Department’s role in relation to homelessness involves the provision of a national framework of policy, legislation and funding to underpin the role of housing authorities in addressing homelessness at local level. In accordance with section 37(2) of the Housing (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 2009, statutory responsibility in relation to the provision of homeless services, including accommodation, rests with individual housing authorities. My Department does not fund any service directly but provides funding to housing authorities towards the operational costs of homeless accommodation and related services as provided for under Section 10 of the Housing Act 1988. My Department, therefore, has no role in relation to the particular issue raised in the Question.

Nuclear Plants

Ceisteanna (330)

Clare Daly

Ceist:

330. Deputy Clare Daly asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government if the Government has been consulted by the UK Government or the nuclear power company NuGen as part of the stage two proposed scheme consultation for the proposed Moorside power station on land adjacent to the Sellafield site on the west Cumbrian coast, comprising three new nuclear reactors with up to 3.8 gigawatts capacity; and if so, his response in this regard. [22081/16]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Environment)

My Department has been consulted by NuGen as part of the Stage Two Proposed Scheme Consultation for the proposed Moorside Power Station. My Department is currently co-ordinating a response to this in conjunction with relevant agencies, including the EPA’s Office of Radiological Protection and the National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS).

Ireland’s established position is that, while not a nuclear energy producing country, we acknowledge the right of States to determine their own energy mix. However, we expect that where a State chooses to develop a nuclear power industry, this will be done in line with the highest international standards with respect to safety and environmental protection. In this regard, we maintain a close interest in relation to nuclear matters in neighbouring countries and in particular with our nearest neighbour, the United Kingdom.

The Office of Radiological Protection was requested by my Department to complete an assessment of the potential radiological impacts on Ireland from the UK nuclear new build programme. This assessment considered both routine operations and a range of postulated accident scenarios at the plants.

The report, published in May 2013, concluded that the routine operation of the proposed nuclear power plants will have no measurable radiological impact on Ireland or the Irish marine environment. This report is available to download at: http://www.epa.ie/pubs/reports/radiation/proposednuclearpowerplantinuk.html.

My Department maintains a close working relationship with our UK colleagues on nuclear matters, including through formal biannual meetings of the UK-Ireland Contact Group on Radiological Matters. The UK new build programme is a standing item on the agenda of this Group, which includes policy makers and regulators from Ireland and the UK.

Foreshore Issues

Ceisteanna (331)

Noel Grealish

Ceist:

331. Deputy Noel Grealish asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government the competent regulatory body at national level overseeing compliance with all environmental and planning regulations for an application for a foreshore licence or lease (details supplied); if there is more than one body involved; and the specific areas for which they have competence. [22082/16]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Environment)

The foreshore applications in question fall within my statutory responsibility as Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government.

In accordance with the Foreshore Act, as amended, my Department is responsible for regulating the use of the foreshore through a system of leasing and licensing.

The foreshore is defined as the bed and shore below the line of high water of ordinary or medium tides of the sea, and of every tidal river and tidal estuary, and of every channel, creek, and bay of the sea, or of any such river or estuary to the outer foreshore as defined in the Foreshore Act 1933, as amended. The foreshore commences at the high water mark; its outer limit is 12 nautical miles from the baseline referred to in Section 85 of the Sea-Fisheries and Marine Jurisdiction Act 2006.

Foreshore consent can only be granted by my Department, if it is in the public interest. At present, the processing of a foreshore consent application includes the following:

- assessment of the application by the Department’s internal technical advisors, and where necessary, the Marine Licence Vetting Committee which advises on scientific matters;

- consultation with statutory and non-statutory consultees, including relevant Departments and Agencies;

- a period of public consultation, normally 21 working days;

- valuation of the site to be occupied by the applicant;

- other public interest elements that may arise in particular cases; and

- obtaining necessary legal advice in complex legal cases from the Chief State Solicitor’s Office and Attorney General’s Office, and Department of Public Expenditure and Reform sanction, where appropriate.

In the Autumn, I intend to publish the Maritime Area and Foreshore (Amendment) Bill which will further streamline the consent process. When enacted, the Bill will provide that development consent and environmental assessment of offshore projects will be carried out once within the planning system. It will remove the duplication that currently exists whereby environmental assessment of projects is carried out both in the planning and foreshore consent systems, although the Ministerial responsibility under the Foreshore Act for the property conveyancing aspect of transactions will be retained.