Housing Data

Ceisteanna (749)

Gino Kenny

Ceist:

749. Deputy Gino Kenny asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government the details of applications made by Wicklow county council to his department for funding for housing over the past five years; the number of persons on the housing waiting list in the county; the length of time each applicant has been waiting; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9820/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Housing)

As the Deputy will appreciate, my Department is in receipt of a large volume of applications for funding across a wide range of capital and current related housing programmes for all local authorities, including Wicklow County Council. Therefore, my Department is not in a position to provide details of all applications over the past five years.

In relation to applications made, my Department has approved a range of projects for Wicklow County Council and those in the pipeline can be viewed in the latest status report for social housing construction projects, as at end Q3 2017. This construction status report contains key information on social housing construction activity in all local authority areas and is available on the Rebuilding Ireland website at the following weblink:

http://rebuildingireland.ie/install/wp-content/uploads/2017/12/Q3-2017-Construction-Status-Report.pdf .

The Q3 2017 report details 772 schemes recently completed, on site, or undergoing planning, design or procurement, which will deliver some 12,300 homes across all local authorities.

In overall terms, significant progress is being made under the Government's Rebuilding Ireland Action Plan on Housing and Homelessness. In relation to full year outputs for 2017, provisional details on the number of social housing homes delivered across the country, were published on 15 January 2018. Over 7,000 new homes were brought into the active social housing stock through build, acquisitions, voids and leasing programmes in 2017. This is a 40% increase on what was planned for the year and a 24% increase over what was achieved in 2016. A breakdown of these homes in terms of build, refurbishment, acquisitions and leasing, across all local authority areas, including Wicklow, will be made available shortly, following completion of the necessary validation process.

Under Rebuilding Ireland, funding has been put in place to accelerate the delivery of social housing across all local authority areas, including Wicklow County Council. €6 billion in exchequer investment has been secured to support its implementation and to deliver 50,000 social housing units through build, refurbishment, acquisitions and leasing, over the period to 2021.

Further updates on progress under Rebuilding Ireland can be viewed at the following weblink:

http://rebuildingireland.ie/news-page/ .

A wide range of social housing statistical information on the various housing schemes operated by local authorities is also available at the following weblink:

http://www.housing.gov.ie/housing/social-housing/local-authority-housing-scheme-statistics .

With the increased national target of 50,000 under Rebuilding Ireland, increased targets for social housing delivery via build, acquisition and leasing arrangements have recently been issued to all local authorities. The revised targets are based on the number of households qualified for social housing support in each housing authority area as recorded in the statutory Summary of Social Housing Assessments (SSHA).

The most recent SSHA carried out in 2017 details the number of households on all local authority waiting lists as at 28 June 2017. The results of the SSHA are available on my Department’s website and include breakdowns by each local authority across a range of categories. The 2017 report also includes the results of the 2016 summary for comparative purposes. Full details are available at the following link and the specific information sought by the Deputy can be found at Appendix One:

http://www.housing.gov.ie/sites/default/files/publications/files/sha_summary_2017.pdf .

The SSHA is now being carried out an annual basis. I expect the results of the 2018 summary to be available for publication later in the year.

Housing Assistance Payment Eligibility

Ceisteanna (750)

Róisín Shortall

Ceist:

750. Deputy Róisín Shortall asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government the statutory basis on which local authorities and the Dublin Region Homeless Executive allow persons to qualify for homeless HAP if they have a notice from their landlord to terminate their existing tenancy within the next 28 days; the basis on which 28 days is set;; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9921/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Housing)

Any household assessed as eligible for social housing is immediately eligible for housing support through the Housing Assistance Payment (HAP) scheme. Once a household has been deemed eligible for social housing support, it is a matter for the local authority to examine the suite of social housing supports available, including the HAP scheme, to determine the most appropriate form of social housing support for that household in the administrative area of that local authority. This function also includes determining when it is appropriate to refer a household for Homeless HAP Place Finder services.

The Homeless HAP supports and Place Finder Service have been operational since February 2015, across the four housing authorities in the Dublin Region, and are being implemented through the Dublin Region Homeless Executive (DRHE). The focus of the interventions remains the transitioning of qualified households from emergency accommodation, including hotels, into private rented tenancies. To qualify for these specific additional supports available to homeless households, a household must have been determined by the relevant local authority to be homeless within the meaning of section 2 of the Housing Act 1988. The operation of local homeless services, including the Place Finder Service, is a matter for each local authority.

Property Registration

Ceisteanna (751)

Seán Haughey

Ceist:

751. Deputy Seán Haughey asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government further to parliamentary question number 251 of 20 February 2018, if he has received representations to facilitate infrastructure projects such as aviation fuel pipelines by changing property ownership legislation relating to cases in which some property owners have their lands registered to the centre of the road; his plans to amend existing legislation in this context; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9945/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Housing)

Under the Registration of Deeds and Title Act 2006, the Property Registration Authority (PRA) was established as and from 4 November 2006. The PRA replaces the Registrar of Deeds and Titles as the registering authority in relation to property registration in Ireland and, subject to the above Act, is independent in the performance of its functions.

When title or ownership is registered by the PRA, all relevant details concerning the property and its ownership are entered on documents known as folios. These form the registers maintained in the PRA and such property is known as registered land, as every transaction on a property is registered on a folio. The folio is guaranteed by the State to be a confirmed record of the title to the property to which it refers.

The PRA also maintains maps or title plans of property described in the registers. These maps do not indicate whether a boundary includes a hedge, wall, ditch etc., so the registers are therefore not conclusive as to boundaries. Any dispute as to boundaries must be resolved by the relevant parties - if they cannot reach agreement it is a matter for the courts to resolve.

I have no plans to amend current legislation in this regard.

National Planning Framework

Ceisteanna (752)

Niamh Smyth

Ceist:

752. Deputy Niamh Smyth asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government if a motion by a group (details supplied) will be reviewed and its concerns addressed; if rural housing for persons living in rural areas will be facilitated in the plan; if the re-opening of the Ulster canal is a key infrastructural project; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9989/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Housing)

The National Planning Framework (NPF) was published by Government on 16 February 2018, alongside the National Development Plan 2018-2027 as part of Project Ireland 2040.

The NPF sets out an ambitious high-level, national vision for Ireland for 2040, and provides the framework and principles to manage future population and economic growth over the next 20 years (catering for around 1 million extra people, 660,000 extra jobs and 550,000 extra homes).

The framework will be followed by three Regional Spatial and Economic Strategies, being prepared by the Regional Assemblies over the course of 2018, which will link strategic planning and investment at the national level with the physical planning and local economic and community development functions of local authorities.

The NPF places a strong emphasis on maintaining the fabric of our rural communities, supporting the growth of rural towns while recognising the need for the open countryside to continue to be a living and lived-in landscape, and investing to support job creation. The NPF is a national plan, with a high-level ambition of creating a single vision, a shared set of goals for every community across the country, and to deliver on these in a way that makes sense for our communities, rural and urban alike.

In addition, the Action Plan for Rural Development, published on 23 January 2017, takes a whole-of-Government approach, led by my colleague, the Minister for Rural and Community Development, to the economic and social development of rural Ireland and will act as an overarching structure for the co-ordination and implementation of rural initiatives across Government Departments and other public bodies.

Section 4.3 of the National Development Plan commits the Government to the next stage of the restoration of the Ulster Canal in County Monaghan, while the NPF recognises the potential role of greenways such as the Ulster Canal Greenway for an enhanced tourism offering throughout the border area.

National Planning Framework

Ceisteanna (753)

Éamon Ó Cuív

Ceist:

753. Deputy Éamon Ó Cuív asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government the implications for an organisation (details supplied) in being included in the recently published national planning framework; the schemes available for this organisation to assist it develop the projects; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [10041/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Housing)

In developing the National Planning Framework (NPF) document, case studies aligned with the National Strategic Outcomes set out in Chapter 10 were included for demonstration purposes to highlight exemplary outcomes, whether for local communities or in terms of having a wider regional and national impact.

This case study referred to above was included as an exemplar of innovation, regional enterprise and community development in a remote rural area.

While the inclusion of specific case studies should not be construed as a commitment to funding support, Project Ireland 2040 sets out an array of capital investment proposals, as distinct from wider current expenditure programmes, that the organisations concerned may benefit from, subject to satisfying the relevant terms and criteria.

Dumping at Sea

Ceisteanna (754)

Pearse Doherty

Ceist:

754. Deputy Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government if his department received a formal request from Donegal county council to investigate the contents of potentially toxic materials dumped off the coast between 2015 and 2017 and to date in 2018; if there has been formal communication between the local authority and his department in relation to the 2010 OSPAR Commission report into past dumping at sea of chemical weapons and munitions in the OSPAR maritime area which gave details of chemical munition dump sites off the County Donegal coast; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [10054/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Housing)

My Department has not received any request from Donegal county council to investigate the contents of potentially toxic materials dumped off the coast between 2015 and 2017 and to date in 2018, nor has Donegal County Council contacted the Department concerning the chemical and munitions dumpsites off the County Donegal coast.

The Department is aware of historical chemical and munitions dumpsites off the County Donegal coast. The UK Ministry of Defence undertook sea dumping of chemical weapons stocks and conventional munitions as a means of disposing of redundant and surplus stocks and dealing with the legacy of weapons produced in the World Wars.

Information on the precise location of the dump sites used by the UK for the dumping of chemical weapons between 1945 and 1957 in waters adjacent to Irish territorial waters and the volume and composition of the weapons has, in the past, been made available to the Government. Information in regard to the dumping off the Donegal coastline has been available since 1986 and in the public domain for a number of years.

The OSPAR convention provides the mechanism by which 15 countries in the Northeast Atlantic region and the EU cooperate to protect and sustainably use the environment of the Northeast Atlantic.

The OSPAR Commission adopts an ecosystem based approach to its work and has five sub-committees looking after biological diversity, human activities, off-shore industry, hazardous substances and eutrophication and radioactive substances. The Environmental Impact of Human Activities committee deals with dumped conventional and chemical munitions

The OSPAR Human Activity Committee coordinates the annual collection of information on encounters with all types of munitions from Contracting Parties (the countries) and publishes maps recording these encounters. Ireland carried out this co-ordination work on behalf of OSPAR until 2017.

Ireland currently holds the Vice Chair of OSPAR. Our engagement with OSPAR is headed up by my Department with committee and expert input from the Department of Communications, Climate Action & Environment, the Environmental Protection Agency and the Marine Institute.

If the general public spots a suspicious item or possible munitions washed up on shore they should not approach it under any circumstance and immediately contact An Garda Síochána who will, in turn, contact the Defence Forces.

If fisherman and sea users encounter a suspicious item at sea the Marine Notice 16 of 2001 gives guidelines for dealing with “(i) Explosives Picked Up At Sea In Trawls Or Sighted And (ii)The Removal Of Explosive Items From Wrecks”. This notice covers chemical and conventional munitions and requires all encounters with such munitions to be reported to the Irish Navy and the Irish Coast Guard.

Seaweed Harvesting Licences

Ceisteanna (755)

Catherine Martin

Ceist:

755. Deputy Catherine Martin asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government if his attention has been drawn to concerns that seaweed harvesting rights may be granted to international undertakings potentially threatening the livelihood of indigenous companies; the measures he is putting in place to protect the long term health of seaweed stocks, the potential for local employment and the sustainability of the marine environment; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [10066/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Housing)

Under the Foreshore Act 1933, I have responsibility for regulating the harvesting of wild seaweed. I have no statutory role in the promotion or development of the seaweed industry.

A number of applications to harvest wild seaweed along the west coast are on hand in my Department. During the course of assessing these applications, it became clear that certain rights to harvest seaweed exist. My Department is in the process of ascertaining, with the assistance of the Attorney General, the legal interface and relationship between these traditional harvesting rights and the current applications.

These applications, most of which are by companies, are effectively on hold until such time as my Department is in a position to bring clarity to the regulatory regime applying to the harvesting of wild seaweed. At that point the applications on hand will come before me for determination. Work on this complex legal issue is continuing and I hope to have made substantial progress on the matter in the second quarter of this year.

Irish Water Administration

Ceisteanna (756)

Joan Collins

Ceist:

756. Deputy Joan Collins asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government if a matter (details supplied) will be addressed regarding the response time for questions to Irish Water. [10070/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Housing)

Based on enquiries made by my Department, I understand that a response to the queries raised by the Deputy was issued by Irish Water on 23 February 2018. My Department has been advised that Irish Water has apologised for any delay in the response.

My Department is in contact with Irish Water to reiterate the importance of the effective operation of the mechanisms in place to deal with queries that Deputies have on specific issues in relation to water services.

Local Authority Housing Data

Ceisteanna (757, 758, 761, 762, 767)

Bernard Durkan

Ceist:

757. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government the number of direct build local authority houses he expects to take place in 2018; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [10106/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Bernard Durkan

Ceist:

758. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government the number and location of local authorities that have advanced plans to provide local authority houses on publically owned lands in the next twelve months; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [10107/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Bernard Durkan

Ceist:

761. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government the number of families rehoused by Kildare county council in each of the past three years and to date in 2018; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [10110/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Bernard Durkan

Ceist:

762. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government the number of houses and new housing starts in each of the counties immediately adjacent to Dublin city and county over the past 12 months; the expectation in this regard in the next twelve months; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [10111/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Bernard Durkan

Ceist:

767. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government the number of direct build local authority houses anticipated for County Kildare in 2018; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [10116/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Housing)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 757, 758, 761, 762 and 767 together.

The Government has made housing a top priority and, through the Rebuilding Ireland Action Plan, has a framework in place to deliver an increase and acceleration in the supply of high quality housing, including social and affordable homes, particularly in the major urban areas where demand is greatest.

In order to directly influence and generate supply of new homes, Rebuilding Ireland contains a suite of actions that will increase housing construction and refurbishment. Under Pillar 2 of the Action Plan, 50,000 new social homes will be delivered by 2021, supported by €6 billion in exchequer funding. Of these, 33,500 homes will be provided through direct construction and refurbishment. Significant progress has been made in increasing the build programmes of local authorities and approved housing bodies and there are over 12,000 new homes in the social housing construction pipeline, including those on site or recently completed, and this is being added to on a weekly basis.

With the funding made available in Budget 2018, the aim is to meet the housing needs of almost 25,500 households during 2018. Central to this delivery will be the construction of 3,800 new homes by local authorities and approved housing bodies, through direct build, turnkey developments and rapid delivery projects. This construction programme, underpinned by a multi-faceted Action Plan, is the correct way to make a fast and sustainable response to the housing crisis.

All local authorities are undertaking social housing construction including on publicly owned lands. This can be seen in the Social Housing Construction Status Reports which my Department publishes quarterly. These reports provide information on the construction programme underway for each local authority area, including Kildare and other counties adjacent to Dublin. The last published report sets out the position at the end of quarter 3 of 2017 when there were over 3,600 new social homes on site and under construction and a further 2,000 new homes with approval to appoint contractors and move onto the construction phase. That report is available on the Rebuilding Ireland website at the following link:

http://rebuildingireland.ie/install/wp-content/uploads/2017/12/Q3-2017-Construction-Status-Report.pdf .

It will be these schemes that will form the bulk of the housing starts and delivery of the 3,800 homes targeted through new builds in 2018. The precise timing for the advancement of each of these projects, including completion dates and tenanting, is a matter in the first instance for the relevant local authorities. However, my Department is working closely on delivery issues with all local authorities, including with Kildare County Council. This includes the work of a new housing delivery team under Minister of State Damien English and through quarterly meetings to address challenges that might arise with individual projects.

Kildare County Council, along with all other local authorities, is being funded to significantly increase its delivery of social housing as part of Rebuilding Ireland. Additional social homes being brought on stream in Kildare are allocated by the Council in accordance with section 22 of the Housing (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 2009 and associated Regulations. Such allocations are a matter for the Council and my Department does not hold detailed information on allocations.

National Planning Framework

Ceisteanna (759, 765)

Bernard Durkan

Ceist:

759. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government the extent to which facilities are available to meet the housing needs of the indigenous rural population throughout rural Ireland by way of ensuring an adequate number of houses in keeping with good planning principles to facilitate in so far as is possible the indigenous needs of those living in rural areas thereby reducing the impact on housing lists; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [10108/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Bernard Durkan

Ceist:

765. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government the degree to which the national planning framework will accommodate the housing needs of the indigenous rural population with particular reference to the need to ensure that planning permission continues to be available subject to normal planning regulations to rural families thereby ensuring the future of rural communities and rural services such as schools; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [10114/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Housing)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 759 and 765 together.

Project Ireland 2040, within which the National Planning Framework (NPF) sits, will ensure that we maintain the fabric of our rural communities, support the growth of rural towns while recognising the need for the open countryside to continue to be a living and lived-in landscape, and invest to support job creation. The NPF is a national plan, with a high level ambition of creating a single vision, a shared set of goals for every community across the country, and to deliver on these in a way that makes sense for our communities, rural and urban alike.

The Framework recognises the need for sustainable and coordinated development of our towns, villages and rural communities. To this end, Regional Spatial and Economic Strategies will also be developed, which will link strategic national planning and investment with regional-scale physical planning and the local economic and community development functions of local authorities.

In addition, the Deputy will be aware that the Action Plan for Rural Development, published on 23 January 2017, takes a whole-of-Government approach, led by my colleague, the Minister for Rural and Community Development, to the economic and social development of rural Ireland and will act as an overarching structure for the co-ordination and implementation of rural initiatives across Government Departments and other public bodies.

A high proportion of overall national house-building taking place in rural areas points to the degree to which indigenous communities in rural areas are being facilitated in meeting their housing needs locally, with a degree of overspill development from cities and towns as well.

In addition, my Department’s 2005 Guidelines for Planning Authorities on Sustainable Rural Housing are designed to ensure that planning authorities strike a balance between managing the future of rural areas from a development perspective and at the same time enabling housing requirements of rural communities to be met. The Guidelines set out how planning authorities should frame their development plan policies for the different types of rural areas which may exist within the development plan area. These types of areas range from rural areas close to cities and towns at risk of overspill development and more remote areas with low levels of development pressure and consistent patterns of population decline. The Guidelines also set out policy advice on issues such as access to appropriate wastewater treatment facilities, potential impacts of the development on groundwater, landscape, natural and cultural heritage and addressing road safety issues (e.g. frontage onto national roads).

I am satisfied that a sufficiently flexible and robust policy framework is in place to ensure that rural communities can meet their housing needs and that the National Planning Framework reinforces this.

Homeless Persons Data

Questions Nos. 761 and 762 answered with Question No. 757.

Ceisteanna (760, 774, 775)

Bernard Durkan

Ceist:

760. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government the number of homeless persons in County Kildare that have been offered and received accommodation from the local authority in the past twelve months; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [10109/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Fiona O'Loughlin

Ceist:

774. Deputy Fiona O'Loughlin asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government the number of persons in emergency accommodation for longer than six months in County Kildare; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [10170/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Fiona O'Loughlin

Ceist:

775. Deputy Fiona O'Loughlin asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government the number of persons in emergency accommodation for longer than six months in County Laois; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [10171/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Housing)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 760, 774 and 775 together.

My Department publishes reports on a monthly basis regarding the number of individuals utilising emergency accommodation arrangements that are overseen by housing authorities. These reports include a county breakdown of the homeless adult population. These official homeless reports are published on my Department's website and can be accessed using the following link: http://www.housing.gov.ie/housing/homelessness/other/homelessness-data.

These monthly reports do not include details with regard to exits and long-term homelessness; such information is provided to my Department quarterly on a regional, rather than county, basis. The administration of homeless services is organised on a regional basis as this approach is considered more effective, bringing a strategic perspective to bear on action to address homelessness, including avoidance of over-concentration of homelessness services in certain areas and promoting appropriate regional availability of services, consistent with need. In this regard, Kildare is included in the Mid-East Region along with the counties of Meath and Wicklow, while Laois is included in the Midlands Region along with the counties of Longford, Offaly and Westmeath.

The most recently submitted reports to my Department indicate that on the last day of 2017, 36 adults in the Midlands Region and 142 adults in the Mid-East Region were in emergency accommodation for longer than six months. The Mid-East report also outlined that 150 adults were supported by the housing authorities to exit emergency accommodation into sustainable independent tenancies in 2017.

Questions Nos. 761 and 762 answered with Question No. 757.