Question No. 717 answered with Question No. 707.

Local Authority Housing

Question No. 719 answered with Question No. 696.

Ceisteanna (718)

John Brady

Ceist:

718. Deputy John Brady asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government when he plans to respond to correspondence issued to him on 13 February 2019 regarding concerns about procurement of contractors in the housing section of Wicklow County Council; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [12192/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Housing)

A reply to the correspondence referred to was issued on 7 March 2019.

Question No. 719 answered with Question No. 696.

Local Authority Housing Eligibility

Ceisteanna (720)

Eamon Scanlon

Ceist:

720. Deputy Eamon Scanlon asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government the status of the review of income eligibility for social housing supports; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [12318/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Housing)

The Social Housing Assessment Regulations 2011 prescribe maximum net income limits for each local authority, in different bands according to the area concerned, with income being defined and assessed according to a standard Household Means Policy.

The income bands and the authority area assigned to each band were based on an assessment of the income needed to provide for a household's basic needs, plus a comparative analysis of the local rental cost of housing accommodation across the country. It is important to note that the limits introduced at that time also reflected a blanket increase of €5,000 introduced prior to the new system coming into operation, in order to broaden the base from which social housing tenants are drawn, both promoting sustainable communities and also providing a degree of future-proofing.

As part of the broader social housing reform agenda, a review of income eligibility for social housing supports in each local authority area is underway. The Housing Agency is continuing to carry out the detailed statistical work, which will underpin this review, on behalf of my Department.

The review will also have regard to current initiatives being brought forward in terms of affordability and cost rental and will be completed when the impacts of these parallel initiatives have been considered.

Local Authority Housing Data

Questions Nos. 725 and 726 answered with Question No. 696.

Questions Nos. 727 and 728 answered with Question No. 699.

Ceisteanna (721, 722, 723, 724)

Darragh O'Brien

Ceist:

721. Deputy Darragh O'Brien asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government the details of all new home turn-key purchases and costs by each local authority in 2018; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [12325/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Darragh O'Brien

Ceist:

722. Deputy Darragh O'Brien asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government the details of all new home builds and costs by each local authority in 2018; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [12326/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Darragh O'Brien

Ceist:

723. Deputy Darragh O'Brien asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government the details of all new home regeneration builds and costs by each local authority in 2018; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [12327/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Darragh O'Brien

Ceist:

724. Deputy Darragh O'Brien asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government the details of all new home rapid build and costs by each local authority in 2018; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [12328/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Housing)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 721 to 724, inclusive, together.

A detailed breakdown of the construction programme of new social housing build is set out in the Social Housing Construction Status Report, which is published on a quarterly basis by my Department. The report covering the period up to end Quarter 4 of 2018 is now available on the Rebuilding Ireland website at the following link:

http://rebuildingireland.ie/news/minister-murphy-publishes-social-housing-construction-status-report-for-q4-2018/ .

This report provides information on the social housing construction programme underway for each local authority area, including those construction schemes completed in 2018. This information includes completions through standard local authority construction, rapid build, turn-keys and regeneration. The report is available in a format that allows for interrogation at any time, to identify details of projects by local authority, or by delivery programme.

The cost of delivering the projects that were completed in 2018, broken down by local authority area, is set out in the table. It should be noted that further funding was also provided to local authorities in respect of other capital projects that reached project milestones in 2018, but did not complete in that year.

Local Authority

Cost

Carlow

€5.0m

Cavan

€2.4m

Clare

€0.4m

Cork City

€30.6m

Cork County

€33.1m

DLR

€37.8m

Donegal

€9.5m

Dublin City

€69.8m

Fingal

€46.7m

Galway City

€4.6m

Galway County

€6.4m

Kerry

€18.3m

Kildare

€17.7m

Kilkenny

€8.8m

Laois

€4.8m

Leitrim

€1.1m

Limerick

€15.9m

Longford

€9.9m

Louth

€3.6m

Mayo

€9.0m

Meath

€16.4m

Monaghan

€4.0m

Offaly

€2.3m

Roscommon

€1.9m

Sligo

€2.8m

South Dublin

€61.1m

Tipperary

€3.2m

Waterford

€22.8m

Westmeath

€2.3m

Wexford

€12.8m

Wicklow

€7.0m

Total

€471.9m

Questions Nos. 725 and 726 answered with Question No. 696.
Questions Nos. 727 and 728 answered with Question No. 699.

Home Loan Scheme

Ceisteanna (729)

Lisa Chambers

Ceist:

729. Deputy Lisa Chambers asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government the average wait time for approval for an applicant to the Rebuilding Ireland home loan scheme from the time the application is submitted to the local authority. [12351/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Housing)

My Department does not routinely collect the information referred to.  However, towards the end of last year, for the purposes of a review of the operation of the Rebuilding Ireland Home Loan scheme that has been undertaken by my Department, a request was made to a number of local authorities for information regarding processing times for loan applications.  Based on the information from those local authorities, and from the Housing Agency with regard to its assessment of applications, it is estimated the average time taken to process applications last year was seven weeks. This is in line with the expected timeframe of 6-8 weeks as set out on the RIHL website.

An Bord Pleanála

Ceisteanna (730)

John Deasy

Ceist:

730. Deputy John Deasy asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government if his attention has been drawn to the delays being experienced in respect of decisions by An Bord Pleanála by which decisions are being deferred on a number of occasions without a final date; the number of appeals that have been submitted in July and August 2018 on which no decision has been made to date; the reason for continuous deferrals; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [12352/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Housing)

Under section 126 of the Planning and Development Act 2000, An Bord Pleanála (the Board) has a statutory objective to determine planning appeals within 18 weeks. Where the Board does not consider it possible or appropriate to reach a decision within 18 weeks (e.g. because of the particular complexities of a case or the requirement to hold an oral hearing), it will inform the parties of the reasons for this, and will indicate when it intends to make its decision.

It is acknowledged that there has been a reduction in the Board's compliance rate with the statutory objective period over the past year due to a number of factors, including an increase in the number of cases it has received. Total case intake in 2018 was 2,734, up 6% on 2017. At end January 2019, the compliance rate for determining normal planning appeals within the statutory objective period stood at 39%, and for all planning cases, the rate stood at 42%.

A range of measures have been taken to address the situation, including the appointment of additional Board members and the provision of additional resources. Ongoing and planned recruitment processes will see staffing levels increase further in the months ahead.

I am satisfied, taking account also of the increased Exchequer grant of €18.5m for the Board in 2019, a 7% increase on 2018, that the measures involved will enable the Board to significantly improve its compliance rate over the coming months. Indeed, the number of cases decided by the Board in 2018 was up 32% on 2017 and the Board's output is now at circa 250 cases per month.

The Board has a complement of 11 members, including a new Chairperson who took up duty on 30 October 2018, and an extra Board member engaged in June 2018 to supplement the normal complement of 10 members. While a vacancy have recently arisen on the Board within that complement, this is due to be filled shortly. The Board also employs over 150 staff members including 10 additional dedicated staff engaged in 2017 to support the Strategic Housing Division.

My Department will continue to liaise closely with the Board to ensure that it has appropriate resources to support it in the performance of its functions

Local Government Reform

Ceisteanna (731)

Jan O'Sullivan

Ceist:

731. Deputy Jan O'Sullivan asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government when details of the powers and functions to be assigned to directly elected mayors will be published; if it will be ensured there is adequate time and information for the public to consider these issues in advance of the proposed plebiscites; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [12434/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Housing)

Plebiscites for directly elected mayors, with executive functions, will be held at the same time as the local elections, in respect of Cork City Council, Limerick City and County Council and Waterford City and County Council. Detailed proposals regarding the plebiscites, including the proposed functions of the mayor, will be submitted to Government for approval shortly and a public information campaign will be finalised and launched as soon as possible thereafter.

Deer Hunting

Ceisteanna (732)

Michael Healy-Rae

Ceist:

732. Deputy Michael Healy-Rae asked the Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht if a licence to shoot deer will be granted to a person (details supplied); and if she will make a statement on the matter. [11507/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Culture)

An application dated 4th February 2019 for a licence under Section 42 of the Wildlife Acts, in respect of the person referred to in the Question was received in my Department on 7th February last. However, as the application form was incomplete, the applicant was contacted in writing on 22nd February to clarify certain information. Further correspondence dated 4th March was received by my Department on 5th March and it is hoped that a decision on the matter will issue shortly.

International Conventions

Ceisteanna (733)

Aengus Ó Snodaigh

Ceist:

733. Deputy Aengus Ó Snodaigh asked the Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht if Ireland is a signatory of the Convention for the Protection of the Architectural Heritage of Europe, Granada, 1985; and if Ireland complies with its legal obligations under that EU convention. [11591/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Culture)

Ireland is a signatory to the Council of Europe’s Convention for the Protection of the Architectural Heritage of Europe, known as the ‘Granada Convention’. The Convention was ratified by Ireland on 20 January 1997 and entered into force on 1 May 1997. 

In fulfilment of its obligations under the Granada Convention, Ireland legislated for the increased protection of the architectural heritage with the enactments of the Local Government (Planning and Development) Act 1999 (later superseded by Part IV of the Planning and Development Act 2000) and the Architectural Inventory (National Inventory) and Historic Monuments (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1999.

Arts and Culture Capital Scheme Funding

Ceisteanna (734)

Tony McLoughlin

Ceist:

734. Deputy Tony McLoughlin asked the Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht if she will seek an update from Fáilte Ireland and the Chief State Solicitor's Office with regard to the ongoing problems with a theatre (details supplied) in County Sligo drawing down its capital funding grant; if these problems have since been resolved; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [12248/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Culture)

The Theatre to which the Deputy refers was awarded substantial funding under the Arts and Culture Capital Scheme 2016-2018 in February 2017 to refurbish and enhance the existing facility.

All capital grants exceeding €300,000, require a legal charge on the property being developed for the amount of the grant for a period of 15 years.  This charge is to protect the taxpayer's investment in the property if it was to undergo a change of use or in the event of its sale.  The Chief State Solicitors Office is seeking to complete the legal formalities in order that the grant can be paid to the theatre to which the Deputy refers.  The Chief State Solicitors Office's is awaiting the signature of the relevant documents by solicitors representing the theatre and the theatre's landlord.

On completion of the legal formalities it is hoped that the theatre can make progress on the project.

Údarás na Gaeltachta

Ceisteanna (735)

Aindrias Moynihan

Ceist:

735. D'fhiafraigh Deputy Aindrias Moynihan den Aire Cultúir, Oidhreachta agus Gaeltachta cad é an líon iomlán de chliantchomhlachtaí de chuid Údarás na Gaeltachta i ngach contae a bheadh incháilithe don deontas “Bí Réidh” de réir na gcoinníollacha (sonraí tugtha), cén lion iarratas atá ceadaithe agus cén líon atá ar lámh acu faoi láthair. [12301/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Culture)

Dírím aird an Teachta ar an bhfreagra a thug mé ar Cheist Dála Uimhir 609 an 5 Márta 2019 maidir leis an ábhar seo. Mar a thug mé le fios sa bhfreagra sin, fuair an tÚdarás trí iarratas ar chúnamh faoin scéim Bí Réidh agus ceadaíodh maoiniú de €15,000 san iomlán ina leith.

Mar is eol don Teachta, is é an aidhm atá leis an scéim Bí Réidh, atá á riar ag Údarás na Gaeltachta, tacaíocht a chur ar fáil do chliantchomhlachtaí de chuid an Údaráis ar mhaithe leis na rioscaí a bhaineann le Breatimeacht a laghdú agus ar an lámh eile, an leas is fearr is féidir a bhaint as deiseanna a d'fhéadfadh eascairt as chomh maith.

Tá curtha in iúl ag Údarás na Gaeltachta go raibh os cionn 1,100 cliaint ar bhunachar cliaint an eagrais ag deireadh 2018, ag áireamh trádálaithe aonair, micreachomhlachtaí, chomh maith le comhlachtaí beaga agus meán mhéide. Tá os cionn 150 cliantchomhlacht de chuid Údarás na Gaeltachta a fhostaíonn 10+ daoine agus bheadh na comhlachtaí sin ar fad incháilithe chun cur isteach ar thacaíocht na scéime seo. Is iad na comhlachtaí seo is mó a bheadh ag easpórtáil chuig an Ríocht Aontaithe agus a mbeadh tionchar ar an mBreatimeacht orthu dá réir.

Ós rud é go bhfuil íogaireacht tráchtála agus rialacha cosanta sonraí i gceist nach foláir a bheith ar an airdeall fúthu, tá curtha in iúl ag an Údarás  nach mbeadh sé  inmholta, dar leo,  sonraí de réir contae a chur ar fáil - ó tharla go bhféadfaí na comhlachtaí a aithint i gcásanna áirithe.

Agus é sin ráite, tá 25 comhlacht aitheanta ag an Údarás ó anailís nua mar na comhlachtaí is leochailí ó thaobh an Bhreatimeachta de agus tá teagmháil déanta arís leo chun na tacaíochtaí atá ar fáil ón Stát a chur ar a súile dóibh.

Ní miste a lua go bhfuil an líon beag iarratas a fuarthas faoin scéim go dti seo ar aon dul leis an treocht atá le sonrú mar a bhaineann sé leis an laghad éilimh go ginearálta atá ar an macasamhail den scéim dar teideal Be Prepared atá á riar ag Fiontraíocht Éireann.

É sin ráite, tuigim go bhfuil leas agus spéis bainte ag cliaint an Údaráis as scéimeanna eile atá ar fáil dóibh agus ceadaíodh €1.8m de thacaíocht in iomlán in 2018 do scéimeanna i leith Taighde & Forbairt, Rochtain ar Mhargaí, Tacaíocht d’Eochair Phostanna agus an Scéim Céimithe.

Hedge Cutting Season

Ceisteanna (736)

Michael Healy-Rae

Ceist:

736. Deputy Michael Healy-Rae asked the Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht her plans to extend the burning season (details supplied); and if she will make a statement on the matter. [12307/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Culture)

Section 40 of the Wildlife Acts 1976, as amended, prohibits the cutting, grubbing, burning or destruction of vegetation, with certain strict exemptions, from 1 March to 31 August.

Following a review of Section 40, which included consideration of submissions from interested parties, proposals were announced in December 2015 to introduce legislation to allow for managed hedge cutting and burning at certain times within the existing closed period on a pilot two year basis.  The relevant legislation was included in the Heritage Bill 2016, which was enacted in July last year.

Section 7(1) of the Heritage Act 2018 provides that I may make Regulations to allow the burning of vegetation during such periods in the month of March and in such parts of the country as specified in the Regulations.  

I recently made a decision not to make Regulations to extend the season for the burning of vegetation into March.  This decision was taken as there would have been no basis for me to do so given the fact that the relatively dry weather during the six month period when the burning of vegetation could have been undertaken under the law (September to February inclusive) would not have precluded landowners from burning vegetation.  Therefore, the existing provisions in the Wildlife Acts on burning remain in force.