Carer's Allowance Applications

Ceisteanna (211)

Willie Penrose

Ceist:

211. Deputy Willie Penrose asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the status of a review of an application for carer’s allowance by a person (details supplied); and if she will make a statement on the matter. [21647/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Employment)

Carer's allowance (CA) is a means-tested social assistance payment made to a person who is habitually resident in the State and who is providing full-time care and attention to a person who has such a disability that they require that level of care.

My department received an application for CA from the person concerned on 22 November 2016. It is a condition for receipt of CA that every claimant shall furnish such certificates, documents, information and evidence as may be required for the purposes of deciding their claim.

The person was requested to provide bank statements and evidence pertaining to the cessation of his self-employment, but did not do so. Accordingly the deciding officer decided that he was not entitled to CA.

The person concerned was notified on 3 May 2017 of this decision, the reason for it and of his right of review and appeal.

A review of this decision was requested on 22 May 2017. Although some evidence was supplied on 25 July 2017, there were still documents outstanding. As a result, the deciding officer confirmed the original decision.

The person concerned was notified on 4 October 2017 of the outcome of this review and of his right of appeal.

Further documents were received on 4 April 2018 and the matter was referred again to the local social welfare inspector (SWI) to complete the earlier investigation that was suspended following the failure of the person concerned to supply documents as requested.

The file was received back from the SWI on 8 May 2018. The SWI reported that contrary to a previous declaration, the person concerned was engaged in employment outside his home up to January 2018. The person concerned stated that he was an employee yet was unable to show evidence or payslips that would confirm this or show how many hours per week he was working or what his earnings were.

On 11 May 2018 a deciding officer requested evidence of his earnings and hours of employment from the date of his application for CA up to January 2018.

On receipt of this information, the decision to disallow the application of the person concerned will be reviewed and he will be notified in writing of the outcome.

I hope this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.

Partial Capacity Benefit Scheme Appeals

Ceisteanna (212)

Willie Penrose

Ceist:

212. Deputy Willie Penrose asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the status of a review of an application for partial capacity benefit by a person (details supplied); and if she will make a statement on the matter. [21648/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Employment)

Partial Capacity Benefit (PCB) is a social welfare scheme which allows claimants to return to work (if they have reduced capacity to work) and continue to receive a payment from my Department. To qualify they need to be currently in receipt of either Illness Benefit (for a minimum of 6 months) or Invalidity Pension.

In the case referred to by the Deputy, my Department received an application for PCB on 3 August 2017. However, they were not, at that point, in receipt of Illness Benefit (for six months). While they were previously in receipt of Illness Benefit, there was a break in their claim and a new claim was commenced from 28 July 2017.

I understand that the person concerned has appealed this decision to the independent Social Welfare Appeals Office (SWAO). When a determination is received from the SWAO the matter will be further considered.

I hope this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.

Partial Capacity Benefit Scheme Applications

Ceisteanna (213)

Paul Kehoe

Ceist:

213. Deputy Paul Kehoe asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the status of a partial capacity benefit application for a person (details supplied); when a decision will be made; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [21662/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Employment)

Partial Capacity Benefit (PCB) is a social welfare scheme which allows a person return to employment if they have reduced capacity for work and to continue to receive a payment from my Department. A person who applies for PCB will, in the first instance, be assessed by a Medical Assessor who expresses an opinion on the degree of partial capacity. A person assessed with a moderate restriction on capacity for work gets 50% of their personal rate of payment plus any increases due in respect of an adult dependant and children. A person assessed with a severe work restriction gets 75% and a person assessed with a profound level gets 100%.

An application for PCB from the person concerned was received on 6 December 2017. The Illness Benefit of the person was stopped as they returned to work on 27 November 2017. The case was referred for a medical assessment. On this occasion it was found necessary for the person to attend an in-person medical assessment and this was carried out on 25 April 2018.

Following this, it has been decided that the person is entitled to 50% of their previous rate of Illness Benefit backdated to the date they returned to work. Payment will issue as soon as possible.

I hope this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.

Household Benefits Scheme

Ceisteanna (214)

Willie Penrose

Ceist:

214. Deputy Willie Penrose asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the cost of increasing the monthly electricity allowance and the natural gas allowance by €10 per month per applicant; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [21699/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Employment)

The cost of increasing the monthly electricity allowance and the natural gas allowance by €10 per month per applicant is estimated to be €47.9 million and €5.9 million respectively.

These costs are on a full year basis and are based on the estimated number of recipients in 2019. It should be noted that these costings are subject to change in the context of emerging trends and associated revision of the estimated numbers of recipients for 2019.

Legislative Measures

Ceisteanna (215)

Clare Daly

Ceist:

215. Deputy Clare Daly asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection if legislative change will be brought forward to enable the Revenue Commissioners discretion in cases in which it allows for cash balance schemes to be exempted from purchasing annuities to also include schemes such as the second IASS supplementary funds, in order to facilitate persons to transfer into an ARF especially those in receipt of pension and past their normal retirement date. [21709/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Employment)

Section 48 of the Pensions Act sets out the priorities on winding up a scheme. It sets out the order in which the liabilities must be discharged and how they may be discharged for members. When a scheme winds up, section 48(3)(b) provides that the trustees may, notwithstanding anything contained in the rules of the scheme and without the consent of the member concerned, discharge the liability for benefits payable by any member by one of the following: transferring the benefits of each member into a new pension scheme; purchasing an approved assurance policy with a company or insurance agency that sells life insurance; or transferring the benefits into another arrangement for the provision of retirement benefits such as, for example, a PRSA or a buyout bond. It must be noted that this is a discretionary provision and the trustees are not compelled to discharge the liability in this way.

The wind-up options in section 48(3)(b) are contingent on the requirement that the scheme’s policies or contracts are approved by the Revenue Commissioners under the Taxes Consolidation Act 1997, as amended. That Act sets out the circumstances in which retirement benefit schemes are approved by the Revenue Commissioners for tax purposes.

In other words, transfers from the scheme being wound up must be made into schemes or products approved by the Revenue Commissioners and which, therefore, comply with Revenue rules.

Section 772 of the Taxes Consolidation Act allows for flexible options on retirement, i.e., the approved retirement fund (ARF) option. The purchase of an ARF is not available to members of defined benefit schemes, subject to certain exceptions. Legislation and policy on taxes and access to ARFs are a matter for the Department of Finance.

ARFs are post-retirement investment vehicles but the sale of ARFs is not currently regulated as a pension product. Under Strand 3 of the ‘Roadmap for Pensions Reform’ the Government has committed to undertaking a broad review of the utilisation of the ARF option and consider whether regulatory oversight of this product is fit for purpose. This review will be undertaken by the Interdepartmental Pensions Reform and Taxation Group (IDPRTG) which aims to have it completed by the end of this year. The IDPRTG is chaired by the Department of Finance and includes the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform as well as my Department.

I hope this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.

Back to Education Allowance Eligibility

Ceisteanna (216)

Clare Daly

Ceist:

216. Deputy Clare Daly asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the financial supports that are available to a person in receipt of a widowed pension that wants to pursue a postgraduate diploma through distance education in terms of course costs and living expenses; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [21710/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Employment)

The Back to Education Allowance scheme (BTEA) supports persons who have been in receipt of a social welfare payment, including the Widows, Widowers or Surviving Partners payments, to pursue full-time courses of education at second and third level subject to meeting the qualifying conditions. In general, access to the BTEA at postgraduate level (QQI levels 8 & 9 (masters)) is not permitted under the terms of the BTEA scheme.

Consequently, jobseekers proposing to study for postgraduate qualifications for masters such as MA, MSc, M.Eng, M.Phil., MBA and Professional Graduate Diploma are not eligible for BTEA funding.

The only exceptions where BTEA can be approved at postgraduate level is where the jobseekers intend to undertake studies leading to:

(i) Professional Masters in Education (QQI level 9) which replaced the Professional Diploma in Education from September 2014;

(ii) Master degree based solely on life experience where the applicant holds no other third level qualification. In such cases, a Case Officer must ensure that the applicant provides documentary evidence from the third-level institution confirming that admission is based solely on life experience and that the applicant is not the holder of any third level qualification;

(iii) Higher Diploma (H.Dip) in any discipline (QQI level 8); and

(iv) Certain Springboard courses – (QQI level 8).

My Department does not offer specific supports for students pursuing third-level qualifications through distance learning or online courses under the back to education programme.

BTEA is not intended to be an alternative form of funding for people entering or re-entering the third level education system. The Student Universal Support Ireland (SUSI) Grant, payable by the Department of Education and Skills, represents the primary support for persons pursuing education. The eligibility rules that govern the payment of a student maintenance grant are a matter for that Department.

I hope this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.

Departmental Reports

Ceisteanna (217)

John Curran

Ceist:

217. Deputy John Curran asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection when a report (details supplied) on local employment services and jobs clubs will be published; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [21716/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Employment)

My Department commissioned Indecon to conduct a review of the Local Employment and Jobclub services. This review is the first significant independent review that has been commissioned since the Local Employment Services (LES) was established in 1995 and it will help inform future decisions regarding how the Department contracts, monitors and procures for LES.

My officials are currently working through the final report and it will be submitted to my office shortly. The findings will be discussed with the contractors and their observations sought. In regard to publication, the report contains commercial information relating to LES contractors and my Department must consider any obligations under the terms of the contracts.

Septic Tank Registration Scheme

Ceisteanna (218)

Thomas Pringle

Ceist:

218. Deputy Thomas Pringle asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government his plans to change the deadline of registration of septic tanks from 1 February 2013 to enable those that registered their existing septic tanks to avail of a grant for remedial works required after inspection; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21530/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Housing)

The Domestic Waste Water Treatment Systems (Financial Assistance) Regulations 2013, a copy of which is available in the Oireachtas library, brought into operation a grant scheme to assist with the cost of remediation of septic tanks and domestic waste water treatment systems which are deemed, following inspection under the Environmental Protection Agency’s National Inspection Plan, to require repair or upgrading. 

The Regulations provide that, subject to the applicant meeting all qualification criteria, a local authority may pay a grant to a person who is required, following an inspection, to undertake repairs or upgrades to, or replacement of, a septic tank or other domestic waste water treatment system.  Applications for grant aid are administered by the local authority in whose functional area the particular domestic waste water treatment system requiring remediation is situated. The local authorities then seek recoupment of the amounts paid from my Department.  Where a local authority pays a grant under the scheme, my Department will reimburse to the local authority 100% of the amount paid.

Full details of the scheme, including eligibility criteria, are set out in the explanatory leaflet and application form published on my Department’s website at the following link:

http://www.housing.gov.ie/water/water-quality/domestic-waste-water-systemsseptic-tanks/domestic-waste-water-treatment-0 .

The grants scheme ensures that the limited financial resources available are targeted towards householders, particularly those on lower incomes, who incur expenditure directly as a result of the inspection scheme.  My Department is revising this scheme to better support the programme of measures in the finalised River Basin Management Plan 2018 - 2021 published recently. The scheme is being extended in order to provide particular support to high status waters and areas identified for priority action in the River Basin Management Plan.

I have recently approved the establishment of a Working Group to conduct a review of the wider investment needs relating to rural water services. The review will focus on the actions required to improve and sustain rural water services and will consider issues such as governance, supervision and monitoring of the sector, in addition to capital investment priorities and requirements across all elements of rural water services, including domestic waste water treatment systems. The establishment of the Working Group is being undertaken in response to the recommendations of the Joint Oireachtas Committee on the Future Funding of Domestic Water Services.

The organisations that are participating on the Working Group reflect the importance and wide ranging impact of the Rural Water Sector.  In addition to my Department, the Working Group is to comprise the Department of Rural and Community Development, the Environmental Protection Agency, the Health Service Executive, the National Federation of Group Water Schemes and the County and City Management Association. It is expected that the Working Group will consult with other relevant stakeholders in respect of specific topics under consideration.

Householders who do not meet the eligibility criteria for the grant under the aforementioned Regulations and who wish to remediate or upgrade their on-site treatment systems may qualify for relief under the Home Renovation Incentive (HRI) Scheme introduced pursuant to section 5 of the Finance (No. 2) Act 2013.  The HRI Scheme covers main residence repairs, renovations and improvements, including the repair or replacement of septic tanks. The Scheme is administered by the Revenue Commissioners and full details are published on the Revenue Commissioners' website at www.revenue.ie .

Capital Expenditure Programme

Ceisteanna (219)

Willie O'Dea

Ceist:

219. Deputy Willie O'Dea asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government the amount in the capital budget as set out in table 8 of the Stability Programme Update 2018 that is designated for housing that is meeting the commitments contained in Rebuilding Ireland; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21630/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Housing)

The information requested is 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 capital expenditure outturn for my Department in 2017 and provisions for the period 2018-2021, as announced in Project Ireland 2040: National Development Plan 2018-2027, are set out in the following table:

Capital Allocations 2017-21 (€m)

2017

2018

2019

2020

2021

Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government

792

1,631

2,033

2,079

2,209

In relation to housing, the Rebuilding Ireland Action Plan for Housing and Homelessness will support the delivery of 50,000 new social homes over the period 2016 to 2021 through a combination of build, refurbishment, acquisitions and leasing activity. Overall, the funding investment planned to support the implementation of the Rebuilding Ireland Action Plan out to 2021 is €6 billion, which includes a capital investment of over €5 billion.

The implementation of the Plan is well underway and is making significant progress in accelerating housing supply. In 2016 alone, the housing needs of over 19,000 households were met through expenditure of €943 million. A further €1.4 billion was expended in 2017 and provided social housing solutions for 25,900 households. Increased funding was secured in Budget 2018, with an overall provision of €1.9 billion available this year to deliver housing programmes – this represents an increase of 36% over 2017 expenditure.

I am confident that the actions and targets in, and the resources committed under, Rebuilding Ireland provide a strong platform for meeting the challenges in the housing sector and that funding will not impede or be an obstacle to delivery under the Plan.

Legislative Programme

Ceisteanna (220, 224)

Darragh O'Brien

Ceist:

220. Deputy Darragh O'Brien asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government the status of the electoral commission Bill; if it will encompass regulation of social media; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21895/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Thomas P. Broughan

Ceist:

224. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government the status of the preparation of legislation for the establishment of an electoral commission; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21561/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Housing)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 220 and 224 together.

The 2016 report of the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Environment, Culture and the Gaeltacht on the establishment of an electoral commission is informing the implementation of the commitment in A Programme for a Partnership Government on establishing an electoral commission and the preparation of an Electoral Commission Bill to give effect to that. The Joint Oireachtas Committee did not make any specific recommendations about the commission having a role in regulating social media. No decisions have been made about the functions of the commission and are still under consideration. Meanwhile, work is ongoing in my Department in preparing, in the first instance, a Regulatory Impact Analysis for the Bill.

Rental Accommodation Scheme Data

Ceisteanna (221)

John Brassil

Ceist:

221. Deputy John Brassil asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government the number of RAS properties unoccupied for more than one month by county in each the years 2016, 2017, and to date in 2018, in tabular form; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21500/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Housing)

My Department does not hold any data on RAS properties that have been vacant for more than one month, as recoupment payments to local authorities only cease after a property has been unoccupied for 3 months. I refer to the reply to Question No. 240 of 26 April 2018, wherein I provided details of the number of RAS properties, broken down by local authority area, unoccupied for a period of more than 3-months during 2016 and the reasons as to why properties may be vacant for a period of time.  Data on 2017 RAS vacancies is currently being collated by my Department. Data on 2018 RAS vacancies is not yet available.

Housing Data

Ceisteanna (222, 226)

Eoin Ó Broin

Ceist:

222. Deputy Eoin Ó Broin asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government the average cost of one, two, three and four bedroom local authority new build apartments on the basis of costings submitted to his Department by local authorities over the past 12 months; the details of all costs and construction only costs; and the itemised costed list of the individual non-construction costs for each unit size. [21507/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Eoin Ó Broin

Ceist:

226. Deputy Eoin Ó Broin asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government the average cost of one, two, three and four bedroomed local authority new build units on the basis of costings submitted by local authorities over the past 12 months; the details of all in costs and construction only costs; and the itemised costed list of the individual non-construction costs for each unit size. [21568/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Housing)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 222 and 226 together.

The information sought in relation to average costs, to the extent and in the format to which it is readily available, is set out in the table.  The average costs set out are based on the analysis of returned data from tendered social housing schemes over an extended period. Construction cost figures are reflective of building costs (including VAT) and also include normal site works and site development. All-in costs include cost of construction, land cost, professional fees, utility connections, site investigations/surveys, archaeology where appropriate, and contribution to public art.  Abnormal costs are excluded from these figures. 

 

1 bed

2 bed

  (1 storey)

2 bed

  (2 storey)

3 bed

4 bed

1 bed

  Apt.

2 bed

  Apt.

3 bed

  Apt.

Construction

€ 143,750

€ 149,576

€ 157,771

€ 167,224

€ 176,629

€ 150,918

€ 157,065

€ 173,953

All-in

€ 182,944

€ 189,644

€ 198,491

€ 209,106

€ 219,694

€ 192,068

€ 199,112

€ 218,818

My Department continues to maintain a clear focus on delivering value for money on both the construction and all-in costs of social housing projects.

Homelessness Strategy

Question No. 224 answered with Question No. 220.

Ceisteanna (223)

Thomas P. Broughan

Ceist:

223. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government the actions he is taking to address homelessness among persons between 18 to 24 years of age; the further actions he is taking or planning to take to address the needs of persons over 18 years of age that are leaving care and in need of housing; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21560/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Housing)

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.  Statutory responsibility in relation to the provision of homeless accommodation and related services rests with individual housing authorities. 

The long-term solution to the current homelessness challenge is to increase the supply of homes. Accordingly, the Rebuilding Ireland Action Plan on Housing and Homelessness is designed to accelerate all types of housing supply; in particular,  it seeks to increase the delivery of social housing by 50,000 units over the period to 2021.

Also contained in the Plan is a cross-Government action to ensure that young people leaving State care and at risk of homelessness are identified and catered for through appropriate housing and other supports appropriate for their needs. My Department will allocate specific funding under the Capital Assistance Scheme for the accommodation needs, while the health and independent living supports will be provided by the HSE, Tusla and expert NGOs.

In October 2017, I established an Inter-Agency Group on Homelessness.  The group's function is to bring about greater coherence and coordination in the provision of homelessness related services across the relevant Government organisations, including health and social care supports, welfare, employment and social protection supports, family supports as well as housing and emergency accommodation services. 

To achieve this, the Group is considering the respective roles and responsibilities of all the organisations involved, including funded service providers, in the delivery of homelessness related services.  I expect to receive the Group's report shortly and will consider it without delay.

Question No. 224 answered with Question No. 220.

Legislative Programme

Question No. 226 answered with Question No. 222.

Ceisteanna (225)

Thomas P. Broughan

Ceist:

225. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government when the building control (construction industry register Ireland) Bill will be published; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21562/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Housing)

Stronger compliance with building standards and the broader building control reform agenda are critical priorities for the Government, and a commitment has been given to placing the Construction Industry Register Ireland, or CIRI, on a statutory footing.  CIRI was established on a voluntary basis in 2014 and over 800 building and contracting entities are currently included on the register.

At the end of May 2017, the Government approved the draft heads of a Bill to place the CIRI on a statutory footing and the Bill was referred to the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Housing, Planning and Local Government for pre-legislative scrutiny.  The Committee’s report was received on 14 December 2017 and its recommendations are being considered with a view to progressing the drafting as soon as possible.

Once enacted in due course, the legislation will provide consumers who engage a registered builder with the assurance that they are dealing with a competent and compliant operator and will complement the reforms which have been made through the Building Control (Amendment) Regulations 2014 and contribute to the development of an enhanced culture of competence and compliance in the construction sector.

Question No. 226 answered with Question No. 222.

Local Authority Housing Provision

Ceisteanna (227)

Michael McGrath

Ceist:

227. Deputy Michael McGrath asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government the details of a planned turnkey social housing project (details supplied) in County Cork; if funding has been provided to Cork County Council; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21616/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Housing)

Funding approval for the turnkey social housing project was given to Cork County Council on 6 April 2018.  It is now a matter for the local authority to advance this project.

Pyrite Remediation Programme Implementation

Ceisteanna (228)

Clare Daly

Ceist:

228. Deputy Clare Daly asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government the reason residents who have moved out of dwellings which are being remediated under the pyrite remediation scheme are reimbursed for expenditure during their absence on electricity, gas and other utilities but not for the portion in relation to the PSO levy, VAT, standing charges and so on in view of the fact that they have had to pay the amount in properties they are renting during the remediation; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21649/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Housing)

The Pyrite Resolution Act 2013 provides the statutory framework for the establishment of the Pyrite Resolution Board, and for the making of a pyrite remediation scheme to be implemented by the Board with support from the Housing Agency. The pyrite remediation scheme is a scheme of “last resort” and is limited in its application and scope.  The full conditions for eligibility under the scheme are set out in the scheme which is available on the Board’s website, www.pyriteboard.ie.

In accordance with the provisions of the Act, the Board is independent in the performance of its functions, and as Minister, I have no role in the operational matters pertaining to the implementation of the scheme. The Board may be contacted by phone at Lo call 1890 252842 or by email to info@pyriteboard.ie or alternatively at oireachtasinfo@pyriteboard.ie.

The scheme provides for the recoupment of the vouched cost of alternative accommodation, furniture removal and storage subject to limits of €3,000 and €2,500 (inclusive of VAT), respectively.  However, where a scheme participant can satisfy the Housing Agency, who will be making the payments, in advance that suitable rental accommodation cannot be obtained for €3,000 or less the expenses for the accommodation and furniture removal can be combined, subject to the overall limit of €5,500. 

My Department is in regular contact with the Pyrite Resolution Board and the Housing Agency in relation to the implementation of the scheme and is satisfied that the arrangements that are currently in place provide the necessary flexibility to support scheme participants in meeting their alternative accommodation needs while their homes are under remediation. 

In regard to expenditure on utilities, the Housing Agency's publication Guide for Scheme Participants provides information to applicants whose dwellings have been included in the Scheme. Section 3.4 Dwelling Remediation, provides that the Scheme participant is responsible for notifying service providers and is not required to disconnect their utility services. I understand from the Housing Agency that the works contractor will pay for any electricity used in connection with the remedial works.

The Public Service Obligation Levy (PSO) is mandated by the Government and approved by the European Commission to support the generation of electricity from sustainable, renewable and indigenous sources. The levy is calculated and certified annually by the Commission for Regulation of Utilities (CRU) in accordance with relevant legislation and all energy suppliers are required to collect this levy from customers. In this regard, neither I as Minister, nor the Pyrite Resolution Board have any role or function in relation to the payment of such levies or standing charges which is a matter for the CRU. Further information is available at www.cru.ie.

Ministerial Meetings

Ceisteanna (229)

Willie O'Dea

Ceist:

229. Deputy Willie O'Dea asked the Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht when she last met and will next meet a person (details supplied); and if she will make a statement on the matter. [21495/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Culture)

I last met with the person referred to by the Deputy on Wednesday 24 January 2018 and would expect to meet that person again from time to time in the course of business.

Straitéis 20 Bliain don Ghaeilge

Ceisteanna (230)

Peadar Tóibín

Ceist:

230. D'fhiafraigh Deputy Peadar Tóibín den Aire Cultúir, Oidhreachta agus Gaeltachta cé mhéad cruinniú a bhí ag an gCoiste Comhairleach a bunaíodh in 2014 chun comhairle agus aiseolas a chur ar fáil maidir le cur i bhfeidhm na Straitéise 20 Bliain don Ghaeilge, 2010-2030, san iomlán ó bunaíodh é; agus cé mhéad cruinniú a bhí ag an gCoiste Comhairleach sa bhliain 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017 agus 2018. [21508/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Culture)

Tá na sonraí atá iarrtha ag an Teachta maidir le líon na gcruinnithe a bhí ag an gCoiste Comhairleach leagtha amach sa tábla a leanas:

Bliain

Líon cruinnithe

2014

3

2015

1

2016

0

2017

1

2018

Tá beartaithe cruinniú a thionól go luath.

Iomlán

5 go dáta