Office of the Comptroller and Auditor General

Ceisteanna (209)

Catherine Murphy

Ceist:

209. Deputy Catherine Murphy asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government the status of his engagements with the office of the Comptroller and Auditor General in the context of audits, inspections and or financial examinations; if he has given further consideration to include an organisation (details supplied) as a body that will be subject to scrutiny by the office; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [5902/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Housing)

My Department is considering the issues involved in providing a potential role for the Comptroller and Auditor General (C&AG) in relation to Irish Water, which is a subsidiary of the company referred to by the Deputy.  This is a complex matter, having regard to the provisions of the Comptroller and Auditor General (Amendment) Act 1993, Irish Water’s governing legislation, including the Water Services Acts and its Constitution, and Irish Water’s current position as a subsidiary within the Ervia Group, and also the decision by Government in July 2018 that Irish Water will be separated from the Ervia Group to become a stand-alone, publicly owned, commercial, regulated utility during 2023.  Legal advice from the Office of the Attorney General was sought on the matter.

My Department has engaged with the Office of the C&AG, the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform and NewERA on the various issues and in consideration of the legal advice.  This work is ongoing and I hope to chart a way forward shortly.

Irish Water

Ceisteanna (210)

Catherine Murphy

Ceist:

210. Deputy Catherine Murphy asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government the position in respect of a company (details supplied); the status of the contract extension; if there are plans to retender for same; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [5930/19]

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. Procurement of external resources or service providers is an operational matter for Irish Water.  Accordingly, the contract referred to is a matter for Irish Water and I have no function in relation to it.

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

Local Authority Housing Data

Ceisteanna (211)

Maurice Quinlivan

Ceist:

211. Deputy Maurice Quinlivan asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government the number of local authority housing units completed by local authorities in each of the years 2011 to 2018 and to date in 2019, in tabular form; and the number completed by each local authority. [5935/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Housing)

Since mid 2016, my Department has published detailed statistics regarding the provision of social housing across all local authorities, under the Rebuilding Ireland Action Plan.

Data is published on a quarterly basis and provides detail on the wide range of initiatives being progressed across the five pillars of the action plan, including county by county breakdown of homes completed by local authorities and Approved Housing Bodies under the various schemes.  Further information on the progress being made on housing provision, up to end Q3 2018, can be found on my Department's website at the following link:

www.housing.gov.ie/housing/social-housing/social-and-affordble/overall-social-housing-provision .

A Social Housing Construction Project Status Report is also published on a Quarterly basis and the report up to end Q3 2018 is available on the Rebuilding Ireland website at the following link:

http://rebuildingireland.ie/news/minister-murphy-publishes-quarter-3-social-housing-construction-report/ .

Updated data to end Q4 2018 is currently being compiled and will be published shortly.

Arts Centres

Ceisteanna (212)

Carol Nolan

Ceist:

212. Deputy Carol Nolan asked the Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht if the shortfall of €1.6 million in funding required for the commencement of building works in respect of a community arts centre in Tullamore, County Offaly, will be allocated; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [5870/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Culture)

In 2007, a capital grant of €2 million was approved in principle for the Tullamore Arts Centre.

Officials in my Department have informed Offaly County Council that the expiry date of this grant has been extended to December 2020, and at present the Council is working with my Department to progress this project.

Similar to all capital grants, the funding is conditional on compliance with the specific terms and conditions which relate to it and is also subject to the Public Spending Code and Department of Public Expenditure and Reform Circular 13/2014.

Commemorative Events

Ceisteanna (213)

Brendan Howlin

Ceist:

213. Deputy Brendan Howlin asked the Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht the role of her Department in the planning for State commemorations from 2019 to 2023. [5376/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Culture)

As the Minister with responsibility for leading the Decade of Centenaries commemorative programme, my priority is to ensure that the Government's approach to the remembrance of the significant historical events and related themes of the period from 1919 to 1923 is appropriate, measured, respectful, inclusive and sensitive to the different perspectives that exist on the events of this period.

The commemorative centenaries programme for 2019 and the years out to 2023 will be based on a four strand approach comprising:

- A State Ceremonial Strand which will comprise a limited number of symbolic acts of national commemoration focusing on themes of remembrance and reconciliation and on the commemoration of all of those who lost their lives during this period.

- An Historical Strand which will comprise a diverse range of activities designed to encourage authentic historical enquiry about this period and promote the use of primary archival sources. Initiatives will be developed in collaboration with State partners, National Cultural Institutions, institutions of learning and other stakeholders.

- A Community Strand, which will involve a collaborative approach – similar to that adopted for the 1916 centenary commemorations – between the State, local authority network and community organisations, including in Northern Ireland where appropriate.

- The Creative Imagination Strand, which will continue to encourage artistic and creative expression in remembrance of the significant historical events of the period from 1919 to 1923 and all of those who lost their lives.

The State commemoration programme for 2019 commenced with engagement by my Department on the marking of the centenary of the Soloheadbeg Ambush of 21 January 1919. Tipperary County Council supported a community-led commemoration on Sunday, 20th January, as part of a broader commemorative programme across the county to mark the centenary of the Independence Struggle. My Department collaborated with the local authority to support these plans, in accordance with the most recent guidance of the Expert Advisory Group on Centenary Commemorations.

I also approved a grant allocation of €10,000 to assist the local authority in supporting the local commemorative committee and wider community in developing their plans, in recognition of the significance of the Soloheadbeg Ambush as the generally accepted first action in the War of Independence.

Significantly, on the same day of the Soloheadbeg ambush, Dáil Éireann was convened for the first time and a centenary commemoration of this milestone in the formation of the State was led by The Houses of the Oireachtas with the delivery of a diverse and inclusive public engagement programme which can be accessed at www.dail100.ie.