Question No. 216 answered with Question No. 214.

Jobseeker's Allowance Appeals

Ceisteanna (217)

James Browne

Ceist:

217. Deputy James Browne asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection if an appeal for jobseeker's allowance by a person (details supplied) will be examined; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [10278/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Employment)

The Social Welfare Appeals Office has advised me that the appeal from the person concerned was referred to an Appeals Officer who has decided after due consideration, to hold an oral hearing in this case on 9th March 2018. The person concerned has been notified of the arrangements for the hearing.

The Social Welfare Appeals Office functions independently of the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection and of the Department and is responsible for determining appeals against decisions in relation to social welfare entitlements.

I hope this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.

Carer's Allowance Applications

Ceisteanna (218)

John Brassil

Ceist:

218. Deputy John Brassil asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection if the delay in the processing of a carer's allowance application by a person (details supplied) will be investigated; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [10283/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Employment)

I confirm that my Department received an application for carer’s allowance (CA) from the person concerned on 10 August 2017.

CA is a means-tested social assistance payment, made to persons who are providing full-time care and attention to a person who has a disability such that they require that level of care.

A person can be considered to be providing full-time care and attention where they are engaged in employment, self-employment or on training courses outside the home for a maximum of 15 hours per week, provided that they can show to the satisfaction of a deciding officer that adequate care has been provided for the care recipient in their absence.

As the person concerned was working outside the home in excess of 15 hours per week, her application was disallowed on 13 December 2017.

Following receipt of evidence that the person concerned was reducing her hours of employment to no more than 15 hours per week from 8 January 2018, her application was awarded on 22 February 2018 and the first payment will issue to her nominated account on 1 March 2018.

Arrears of allowance due from 11 January 2018 to 28 February 2018 have also issued.

The person concerned was notified on 22 February 2018 of this decision, the reason for it and of her right of review and appeal.

I hope this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.

JobPath Programme

Ceisteanna (219)

Catherine Murphy

Ceist:

219. Deputy Catherine Murphy asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the number of companies subcontracted by companies (details supplied) to provide information sessions to persons on the JobPath scheme network personnel; the expenditure to date on subcontracted work in the context of the delivery of JobPath; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [10284/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Employment)

As the Deputy will be aware, JobPath is a service designed to support people who are long term unemployed to obtain and sustain employment in the open labour market.

The service is being delivered by Seetec and Turas Nua under a payment by results model, with all costs being borne by the companies themselves. The companies are paid an initial registration fee and thereafter job sustainment fees only. Job sustainment fees are only payable for each 13 week period of sustained employment, up to a maximum of 52 weeks (i.e. 4 payments). The Department was careful in designing the service to ensure that payments to contractors are conditional on people not just finding a job, but finding sustainable employment.

The Agreements entered into between my Department and the JobPath companies include a provision for the engagement of sub-contractors in the delivery of the service. The Agreements further provide that overall responsibility for the performance of the service contract, irrespective of whether the tasks are performed by the Contractor or through sub-contractors, rests with the Prime Contractors that is Seetec and Turas Nua.

Turas Nua delivers the service directly to JobPath clients and has not engaged sub-contractors for the end to end delivery of the service. Seetec provides the JobPath service directly and also through the following sub-contractors: Coláiste De Danann trading as Cenit College; Network Personnel; People 1st Employment and Skills; CMD Group and Skills Team Employment Services. Any expenditure attaching to the provision of the service by these sub-contractors is a matter between Seetec and its sub-contractors.

In addition to the above, it is important to note that both companies engage a range of providers to deliver training and others supports to Jobseekers.

Departmental Meetings

Ceisteanna (220)

Niall Collins

Ceist:

220. Deputy Niall Collins asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the newspapers her Department officials have engaged with in promoting or explaining Government business in her Department; when these meetings took place; if they are held on a regular basis; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [10292/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Employment)

There has been no such engagement by officials in my Department to promote or explain Government business.

Invalidity Pension Applications

Ceisteanna (221)

Tony McLoughlin

Ceist:

221. Deputy Tony McLoughlin asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the status of an application for an invalidity pension by a person (details supplied); and if she will make a statement on the matter. [10311/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Employment)

I am advised by the Social Welfare Appeals Office that an Appeals Officer, having fully considered all of the available evidence including that adduced at the oral hearing, has decided to allow the appeal of the person concerned. The person concerned has been notified of the Appeals Officer’s decision.

The Social Welfare Appeals Office functions independently of the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection and of the Department and is responsible for determining appeals against decisions in relation to social welfare entitlements.

Social Welfare Schemes Data

Ceisteanna (222)

Joan Burton

Ceist:

222. Deputy Joan Burton asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the number of full-rate qualified child increases and half-rate qualified child increases respectively in payment at the end of 2017 to persons in receipt of payments (details supplied); and if she will make a statement on the matter. [10320/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Employment)

The information requested is shown in the following table. The age breakdown mentioned in the Deputy’s clarification of this question will be supplied by my officials as soon as possible in answer to the Deputy’s related question (9332-18).

Number of qualified child increases paid to recipients of Weekly Social Welfare Payments, December 2017

Scheme

Full Rate

Half Rate

Other

State Pension (Non-Contributory)

473

112

0

State Pension (Contributory)

1,257

729

0

Widow/er's or Surviving Civil Partner's Contributory Pension

10,908

0

Supplementary Welfare Allowance

8,520

0

Maternity Benefit

758

155

0

Rural Social Scheme

1,504

523

0

TUS - Community Work Placement

2,190

2,073

Back To Work Enterprise Allowance

6,489

1,921

Back To Education Allowance(3)

4,327

1,100

0

Partial Capacity Benefit

396

394

0

Disability Allowance

29,028

10,945

0

Carer's Allowance

3,910

40,942

0

Illness Benefit

7,910

6,603

0

Interim Illness Benefit

105

50

0

Injury Benefit

176

120

0

Invalidity Pension

5,630

7,944

0

Working Family Payment

129,274

Live Register Data

Ceisteanna (223)

Clare Daly

Ceist:

223. Deputy Clare Daly asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the number of casual, part-time employees in receipt of social welfare payments such as jobseeker's allowance, jobseeker's benefit and family income supplement, by the 20 largest private sector employers and occupation type; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [10352/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Employment)

At the end of January 2018, there were 50,231 casual and part-time workers on the Live Register. Equivalent figures for all months from May 2002 to January 2018 are published by the Central Statistics Office (CSO), based on returns made to them by my Department, in Table 7 of the Live Register statistical release (available at http://www.cso.ie/en/releasesandpublications/er/lr/liveregisterjanuary2018/).

A tabular statement giving a breakdown of this total by last held occupation prior to commencement of Jobseeker claim is attached. This occupational breakdown for casual and part-time workers on the Live Register is fully consistent with the occupational breakdown for the Live Register as a whole published in Table 5 of the CSO’s Live Register statistical release.

I note, however, that this table may not reflect the current occupational status of casual and part-time workers where this is different from their stated last held occupation at claim commencement.

Meanwhile, I regret that the breakdown requested by 20 largest employers is not available either in my Department or through the data published by CSO.

In relation to other benefits, I note the definition of ‘casual and part time workers’ used by my Department and published by CSO:

People who work for part of a week may be eligible for Jobseeker’s Benefit or Jobseeker’s Allowance and may also be included on the Live Register, if the Department of Social Protection is satisfied that they are not in full-time employment, are available for work and are looking for full-time employment.

This definition excludes Systematic Short Time workers in receipt of Jobseeker’s Benefit (there were 426 such people at the end of January 2018), as well as all those who are in receipt of benefits which allow the recipient to work or study full-time while retaining benefit eligibility, such as Back to Work Enterprise Allowance, Back to Education Allowance or One-Parent Family Payment.

In particular, only people who work 38 or more hours per fortnight in a job which is likely to last at least 3 months are eligible to receive Working Family Payment (formerly known as Family Income Supplement), so that it is not possible for a casual worker to be in receipt of this benefit.

Tabular statement

Table 1 - Casual Workers on the Live Register by Last Held Occupation and payment type, January 2018

Broad occupational group prior to start of claim

(CSO categorisation)

Casual Jobseekers Allowance

Casual Jobseekers Benefit

Grand Total

Associate Professional And Technical Occupations

789

363

1,152

Clerical And Secretarial Occupations

3,119

1,786

4,905

Craft and Related Occupations

7,917

1,775

9,692

Managers and Administrators

703

528

1,231

Other Occupations

4,013

771

4,784

Personal And Protective Service Occupations

8,058

2,533

10,591

Plant And Machine Operatives

6,099

1,637

7,736

Professional Occupations

1,461

993

2,454

Sales And Customer Service Occupations

5,018

1,424

6,442

Unknown or no stated occupation or those who never worked

1,163

81

1,244

Grand Total

38,340

11,891

50,231

Social Welfare Overpayments

Ceisteanna (224)

Róisín Shortall

Ceist:

224. Deputy Róisín Shortall asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the reason a person (details supplied) in Dublin 11 has had their social welfare payment cut; and if the correct rate will restored and the balance refunded without further delay. [10354/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Employment)

The person concerned is in receipt of a Jobseekers Allowance payment since the 24th October 2017.

The reduction in the person’s payment related to the recovery of an overpayment. Their debt with the Department was suspended on the 13th February 2018 as they have lodged an appeal with the Social Welfare Appeals Office. Deductions to recover the debt have been suspended pending the outcome of this appeal.

Since the 14th February 2018 they are in receipt of the full entitlement of €193.00 per week.

The Office awaits a decision from the Social Welfare Appeals Office regarding their appeal and the issue of the overpayment.

I trust that this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.

Unfinished Housing Developments

Ceisteanna (225)

Brendan Smith

Ceist:

225. Deputy Brendan Smith asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government if requests from a local authority (details supplied) will be considered; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [10258/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Housing)

The 2016 Annual Progress Report on Unfinished Housing Developments was published in March 2017 and is available at the following link:

http://www.housing.gov.ie/sites/default/files/publications/files/resolving_unfinished_housing_developments_-_2016_annual_progress_report.pdf

As outlined in the Report, the numbers of unfinished housing developments has reduced by over 85% from just under 3,000 developments in 2010 to 420 developments in 2016, with 248 developments resolved in 2016 alone.

Funding of the resolution process is now firmly centred around investment by housing providers and their funders, as well as income from bonds and securities.  In that context, I have no plans to allocate further funding to local authorities, and the level of unfinished housing developments remaining is expected to show a further reduction when the 2017 Annual Progress Report is published by my Department shortly.

The taking-in-charge of housing developments is a matter for the relevant local authority under section 180 of the Planning and Development Act 2000 (as amended). My Department launched the National Taking-in-Charge Initiative (NTICI) in April 2016 to trial new approaches and working methods in supporting and accelerating overall national and local action on the taking-in-charge process of housing estates, including estates with developer-provided water services infrastructure (DPI).

Under the terms of the NTICI, which was underpinned by €10m in funding, developments subject to valid taking-in-charge applications were eligible for inclusion in the call for funding proposals under Circular FPS 3/2016, which is available at the following link:

http://www.housing.gov.ie/sites/default/files/publications/files/circular_fps3_2016_national_taking_in_charge_initiative_3.pdf

Findings and recommendations from the NTICI process will be included in a report on the initiative that I intend to publish in the coming weeks. The publication of the NTICI report will be of value to local authorities and other stakeholders in applying the lessons from the pilot authorities, in a more general roll-out of a streamlined approach to taking-in-charge.

The recently published National Development Plan provision of €31 million for the period 2018-2021 for developer-provided infrastructure is evidence of the Government's commitment to transition from the pilot phase under NTICI to a programme phase, commencing with an estimates provision of €3m in 2018 on which further details will be announced in due course.

Local Authority Housing Data

Ceisteanna (226)

Catherine Murphy

Ceist:

226. Deputy Catherine Murphy asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government the number of single stage process projects below €2 million for the delivery of social housing units under way nationally by local authority and municipal district; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [10269/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Housing)

To date, 13 social housing capital projects are being advanced by local authorities via the single-stage approval process for projects with a maximum all-in budget up to €2m. These projects have been proposed by the local authorities in Meath, Louth, Laois, Cavan, Leitrim, Roscommon, Fingal, Wicklow and Galway County.

Revisions to the single-stage approval process were recently introduced, so I expect the take-up on this option will increase over time.

Local Authority Housing Data

Ceisteanna (227, 233)

Catherine Murphy

Ceist:

227. Deputy Catherine Murphy asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government the number of four stage process projects for the delivery of social housing units under way nationally by local authority and municipal district; the stage each project is at; the names and locations of each site in the four stage process stream of projects; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [10271/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Catherine Murphy

Ceist:

233. Deputy Catherine Murphy asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government if caps are placed on budgets for four stage process projects to deliver social housing units; the way in which funding is released or withheld in the context of projects in the four stage process; the way in which a budget is set for projects that are one bedroom apartment units contained within a subdivided structure, terraced housing and multi bedroom apartment units; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [10333/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Housing)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 227 and 233 together.

Social housing projects funded by my Department, like all publicly funded construction projects, must comply with the Government’s Capital Works Management Framework (CWMF), the objectives of which are to ensure greater cost certainty, better value for money and financial accountability. While there are nine points of review within the CWMF, my Department has combined these to just four for capital-funded social housing construction projects.

My Department now publishes Social Housing Construction Status Reports on a quarterly basis. These reports provide information on the social housing construction programme underway for each local authority area and contain details such as the stage each project is at, the names and locations of each project and the number of new social homes each project is delivering.

The last published report sets out the position at the end of quarter 3 of 2017. It has information on the delivery of over 12,000 new social housing homes, including those on site and under construction, those progressing through planning and design and those delivered in 2016 and to the end of quarter 3 of 2017. The majority of the schemes listed in the Status Report progress through the four stage process under the CWMF.  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

The construction schemes progressing through the 4 stage approval process are reviewed at each stage by my Department’s Social Housing Delivery team, including architectural and quantity surveyor (QS) advisors. The assessment of costs takes into account the wide range of factors that will influence projects, such as house or apartment type, location, land costs and conditions, scale of the development and the terms of the planning approval.  The professional QS staff assess costs in relation to all projects realistically, based on the range of the above factors that might apply and funding is released to local authorities based on the costs they have incurred in the delivery of the constructions projects. Local authorities are encouraged to drawdown funding on a timely basis.

Planning Guidelines

Ceisteanna (228)

Catherine Murphy

Ceist:

228. Deputy Catherine Murphy asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government the number of information sessions for local authorities and approved housing bodies on the principles and requirements arising from the quality housing for sustainable communities and the design manual for urban roads and streets that were held in the context of standards and oversight in 2017 and to date in 2018; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [10276/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Housing)

My Department’s publication Quality Housing for Sustainable Communities (2007), for local authorities, sets out best practice for the use of all involved in the provision of housing, including architects, urban designers, engineers, planners, quantity surveyors, developers, practitioners and housing authorities. 

The guidelines identify the principles and criteria that are important in the design of housing in order to facilitate the delivery of better homes, better neighbourhoods and better urban spaces. 

The guidelines provide advice on site selection in areas with good access to a wide range of services including shops, schools and other facilities and without creating an overconcentration of a single tenure type. A range of key design priorities are emphasised in the guidelines including the need to ensure designs are socially, environmentally and architecturally appropriate, safe, secure and healthy; affordable; durable; and accessible and adaptable. Such themes are amplified in the later Design Manual for Urban Spaces (DMURS).

These design guidelines for local authorities seek to promote quality and value for money in publicly funded housing and seek to maintain this level of quality, including where other funding streams are fully or partially involved.

In relation to the guidelines, my Department is in regular contact with Local Authorities where design proposals for social housing developments are considered for consistency with the Quality Housing for Sustainable Communities guidelines and I am satisfied that the appropriate arrangements are in place.

In regard to the DMURS, this was jointly published by my Department and the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport in 2013 and was followed by a series of nationwide information seminars in early 2014 and 2015.

The purpose of this Manual is to ensure that the welfare and needs of pedestrians are prioritised in the design of streets in urban areas, so that roadways for cars don’t dominate our towns and cities. It also promotes short actively fronted movement systems to better facilitate and encourage pedestrian movement, and is fully consistent with our planning intentions to create more compact settlements.

Local Authority Housing Funding

Ceisteanna (229)

Peter Burke

Ceist:

229. Deputy Peter Burke asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government if funding for a housing estate (details supplied) in County Longford will be provided; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [10281/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Housing)

Section 58 of the Housing Act 1966 provides that the management and maintenance of local authority housing stock is a matter for each individual local authority. This includes the achievement of energy efficiency, the implementation of planned maintenance programmes and carrying out of responsive repairs and pre-letting repairs.

Local authorities are currently undertaking an ambitious programme of insulation retrofitting, with the support of my Department, on the least energy efficient social homes. Funding of some €115.7 million has been provided from 2013 to the end of 2017 to improve energy efficiency and comfort levels in almost 64,000 local authority homes, benefitting those at risk of fuel poverty and making a significant contribution to Ireland’s carbon emissions reduction targets and energy reduction targets for 2020.

The Energy Efficiency Retrofitting Programme is being implemented in a number of phases: Phase 1 commenced in 2013 and is focused on providing attic/roof insulation and the less intrusive cavity wall insulation in all relevant properties while Phase 2 of the Programme, which has been piloted in both Fingal and Westmeath County Councils, will focus on the external fabric upgrade of those social housing units with solid/hollow block wall construction. Funding may also be provided under Phase 2 to upgrade poorly performing windows and doors in specific circumstances.

In 2018, the main focus of the available funding for the Energy Efficiency Retrofitting Programme will be on the completion of the remaining Phase 1 works and formally rolling out Phase 2. My Department will, shortly, be asking local authorities including Longford County Council to submit details of their work proposals and related funding requirements for this programme in 2018. In relation to the project referred to by the Deputy, my Department will, of course, consider that project for funding once an application has been submitted to the Department.

In the meantime, if a local authority identifies a tenanted dwelling which requires a specific and urgent energy efficiency upgrade, especially in those dwellings which accommodate elderly people and people with disabilities, then a special case should be made to my Department to have these works funded.

Home Loan Scheme

Ceisteanna (230)

Charlie McConalogue

Ceist:

230. Deputy Charlie McConalogue asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government if social welfare payments can be used when determining income levels in order to qualify under the Rebuilding Ireland loan scheme; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [10285/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Housing)

The Rebuilding Ireland Home Loan is not, as a general rule, available to those in receipt of unemployment or other social welfare benefits.  However, where there is a primary income of a waged or salaried nature, long term state benefit payments may be considered.  State benefit payments allowable are: 

- State Pension (Contributory);

- State pension (Non-Contributory);

- Widow’s / Widower’s Pension;

- Blind Pension;

- Invalidity Pension;

- Disability Allowance.

The long-term nature of the payment must be confirmed by the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection or other relevant Government Department.  Independent confirmation is required in such circumstances.

Further information is available on the dedicated website, www.rebuildingirelandhomeloan.ie.

Departmental Meetings

The following deferred reply was received under Standing Order 42A

Ceisteanna (231)

Niall Collins

Ceist:

231. Deputy Niall Collins asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government the newspapers his Department officials have engaged with in promoting or explaining Government business in his Department; when these meetings took place; if they are held on a regular basis; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [10296/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Housing)

The information requested in relation to my Department is currently being compiled and will be forwarded to the Deputy in accordance with Standing Orders.

The following deferred reply was received under Standing Order 42A
The Press Office of my Department liaises with the media on my behalf and on behalf of the Ministers of State and the Department. On occasion, and in order to assist the understanding of Departmental policies, officials may give a technical briefing to the media. These briefings are not held regularly but are considered, where appropriate, with a view to outlining and explaining the technical elements of some of the policies being introduced or implemented by my Department. Details of key briefings during 2017 and 2018 are set out below.
In April 2017, the Irish Independent was given a technical briefing on the Rebuilding Ireland Housing Land Map. In August and September 2017, the same newspaper was briefed during one meeting and in a number of phone calls on housing issues, primarily the Local Infrastructure Housing Activation Fund, and planning policy.
During 2017, officials from Met Éireann have engaged with a number of scientific correspondents in relation to its work. In addition, in November 2017, articles were commissioned by newspapers for events such as Science Week or as part of RTÉ managed events in association with the ‘Weather Live’ programmes.
Given that Project Ireland 2040 is a Government of Ireland initiative, the Department of An Taoiseach, through its Strategic Communications Unit, had overall responsibility for arrangements surrounding its launch, including arrangements for media and other briefings. As part of such arrangements, my Department’s National Planning Framework team supported a number of briefing sessions with different media commentators on 14 and 15 February and again on the morning of the launch in Sligo on 16 February. As my Department did not arrange these briefings, it does not hold a record of which newspapers were represented.

Water Services Provision

Question No. 233 answered with Question No. 227.

Ceisteanna (232)

James Browne

Ceist:

232. Deputy James Browne asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government when funding will be provided for the Oylegate water treatment scheme in County Wexford; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [10310/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Housing)

Since 1 January 2014, Irish Water has statutory responsibility for all aspects of water services planning, delivery and operation at national, regional and local levels.

Irish Water has established a dedicated team to deal with representations and queries from public representatives in relation to water services.  The team can be contacted via email to oireachtasmembers@water.ie or by telephone on a dedicated number, 1890 578 578.

Question No. 233 answered with Question No. 227.

National Planning Framework

Ceisteanna (234)

Declan Breathnach

Ceist:

234. Deputy Declan Breathnach asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government the reason the population for Drogheda by 2040 data was not mentioned in the national planning framework 2040 document; if data both for Drogheda and Dundalk will be supplied; if this data is computed using existing boundary definitions; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [10393/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Housing)

The National Planning Framework (NPF) sets the framework for future planning in Ireland at a national and regional scale. In addition to Ireland’s five cities, the NPF recognises the important regional roles of three other centres as well as the Drogheda-Dundalk-Newry cross-border network.

The Framework indicates that all of these centres and networks should each lead the development of their regions to 2040. The extent to which they should plan to grow in population by 2040 is a matter for local and regional consideration, as part of the regional planning process that is now underway, further to publication of the NPF.

The Regional Spatial and Economic Strategy (RSES) process has commenced and must address the growth of each region in accordance with the overall parameters of the NPF. This enables local and regional decision-making at the appropriate level, to make choices as to the extent to which each regional centre and cross-border network can and should plan to grow its population to 2040. 

One of the important reasons for this is the need to consider the capacity and potential of each town in the context of their wider hinterland and region. While growth plans to 2040 may be ambitious, they must also be realistic and support the objectives of the NPF with regard to compact, balanced growth and development.

Existing population data regarding all settlements in Ireland is provided at Appendix 2 of the NPF, using Central Statistics Office (CSO) data. This includes data for the settlements of Drogheda and Dundalk, using the CSO defined and mapped continuous built-up area, or ‘footprint’, of each settlement, which in the case of Drogheda, included part of two counties.

The NPF, including appendices, is available at the following link:

http://npf.ie/wp-content/uploads/Project-Ireland-2040-NPF.pdf.

National Development Plan

Ceisteanna (235)

Joan Burton

Ceist:

235. Deputy Joan Burton asked the Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht the heritage projects in the national development plan for the National Museum, Collins Barracks, her Department has responsibility for funding; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [10330/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Culture)

This Government recently launched Project Ireland 2040; a comprehensive national planning framework and associated 10-year National Development Plan.  Project Ireland 2040 explicitly recognises that our culture, language and heritage are an essential part of the sustainable development of the country. 

This acknowledgement of the centrality of culture and creativity to our national development is unprecedented in this type of statutory planning framework, as is the commitment to investment in excess of €1 billion in our culture and heritage over the next 10 years.  Of this investment some €725 million will be invested directly in our cultural infrastructure, in our creative industries and in enhancing cultural experience for our citizens.  As outlined in Project Ireland 2040, €460 million will be spent on the National Cultural Institutions Investment Programme.  As part of this programme there will be a significant investment in the National Museum of Ireland, which is currently in the process of developing a comprehensive 15 year development plan for all of its sites including Collins Barracks.

I will shortly launch my Department's plan for investment in Culture, Language and Heritage.

National Parks

Ceisteanna (236)

Tom Neville

Ceist:

236. Deputy Tom Neville asked the Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht if the possibility of purchasing available lands (details supplied) adjoining Killarney National Park in County Kerry will be investigated; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [10218/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Culture)

My Department is aware of the land available for sale adjoining Killarney National Park. Through the National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS), the Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht manages a property portfolio in respect of national parks and reserves of approximately 87,000 hectares. These important biodiversity areas are located all around the country. Given the limited  resources available for capital investment within the National Parks and Nature Reserves, I recognise the need to focus on the core responsibilities relating to the management of the existing Parks and Reserves lands. The Department has no plans at this time to purchase the lands in question.