Social and Affordable Housing Provision

Ceisteanna (230)

Louise O'Reilly

Ceist:

230. Deputy Louise O'Reilly asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government the status of the roll-out of affordable housing schemes for Fingal. [24643/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Housing)

Affordable housing for purchase is being provided under Part 5 of the Housing (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 2009.

The new affordable housing for purchase scheme replaces the time-limited claw-back which applied under the various previous affordable housing schemes.  Under the scheme, a discount of up to 40% may be provided by the local authority to the prospective purchaser of an affordable home.  The local authority will retain a charge equivalent to the discount, and the household must repay the charge at re-sale or during the charged period.  The scheme applies to new homes on local authority land, and is targeted at low to middle-income households.  The monies of the equity charge will be repaid by the purchaser into a new Affordable Dwellings Fund, which will administered by the Housing Finance Agency and used to fund more affordable housing. 

One of the mechanisms available to local authorities to help them deliver affordable housing options is the Serviced Site Fund (SSF).  Under the SSF, €310 million is being made available over a three year period, from 2019 to 2021, to support the delivery of infrastructure on local authority sites, which will deliver over 6,000 affordable homes.

The first call for proposals under the SSF in June 2018 was targeted at 11 local authorities, where it was identified that the greatest affordability pressures exist.  I issued approval in principle in December 2018 for funding for 10 infrastructure projects in Dublin and Cork with €43 million funding, which will support the delivery of 1,400 affordable homes.

Three of these ten projects approved were in the Fingal County Council area, with €14.7 million funding earmarked to support the delivery of over 870 affordable homes.

The overall cost and timing of delivery for these projects is contingent upon the completion of planning and procurement in the first instance, and local authorities are working to achieve delivery as quickly as possible, with the first tranche of affordable homes expected to be delivered next year.

Following the first call under the SSF, and in order to target affordable interventions, local authorities were asked to complete financial/economic assessments of each of their sites to assess whether the provision of affordable homes is economically viable.  Local authorities were also asked to assess the broader housing affordability within their area.  A second call for proposals under the SSF issued to 19 local authorities, including Fingal County Council on 9 April 2019, based on the aforementioned economic assessments.  The closing date for returns was 17 May 2019 and 30 submissions were received from 15 local authorities, including one from Fingal County Council in respect of a site in Cappaghfinn with the potential for 122 affordable units. These are currently being assessed by my Department and I intend to issue approvals under this second call in the coming weeks.

There are currently 3 LIHAF projects in Fingal County Council and it is projected that they will, cumulatively deliver 40 affordable units and 2,070 cost reduced units.

With regard to the Rebuilding Ireland Home Loan, the most recent figures available to my Department indicate that up to the end of May 2019, 580 loan applications received by Fingal County Council had been assessed by the Housing Agency central assessment service, 339 of which had been recommended for approval.  In terms of loans issued,  the latest information available, as at end Q1 2019, indicates that Fingal County Council has issued a total of 99 Rebuilding Ireland loans, with a value of €21.7m.

Property Registration Authority

Ceisteanna (231)

Niamh Smyth

Ceist:

231. Deputy Niamh Smyth asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government the status of the case of a person (details supplied); if the matter will be expedited; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [24652/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Housing)

A service for Oireachtas members was introduced in 2006 through which information can be obtained on the current status of applications to the Property Registration Authority (PRA), such as the case referred to with this question.  This provides a speedy, efficient and cost effective system through which the PRA can address such queries.  This service can be contacted at reps@prai.ie. 

Home Loan Scheme

Ceisteanna (232)

Michael McGrath

Ceist:

232. Deputy Michael McGrath asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government if, under the Rebuilding Ireland home loan scheme, the underwriter can take account of an imminent pay rise that an applicant is due to receive as a public servant on a pay scale; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [24656/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Housing)

The Housing Agency provides a central support service that assesses applications for the Rebuilding Ireland Home Loan on behalf of local authorities and makes recommendations to the authorities to approve or refuse applications. 

Ideally, applicants should provide at least one payslip demonstrating any recent pay increases. However, in circumstances where a pay increase is imminent (within 30 days), the increase could be taken into account by the underwriter on the basis of the quality of evidence provided.

Each local authority must have in place a credit committee and it is a matter for the committee to make the decision on applications for loans, in accordance with the regulations, having regard to the recommendations made by the Housing Agency.

Local Authority Staff Data

Ceisteanna (233)

Noel Rock

Ceist:

233. Deputy Noel Rock asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government the number of permanent employees in each county council. [24672/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Housing)

The information requested is set out in the following table on a Whole Time Equivalent (WTE) basis.

LOCAL AUTHORITY

PERMANENT WTE @ 31/3/2019

Carlow

243.83

Cavan

362.90

Clare

725.12

Cork

2,073.54

Donegal

826.94

Dun Laoghaire

988.80

Fingal

1,297.75

Galway

713.71

Kerry

1,045.35

Kildare

895.65

Kilkenny

491.15

Laois

402.03

Leitrim

239.09

Longford

307.79

Louth

587.20

Mayo

1,120.50

Meath

687.90

Monaghan

369.53

Tipperary

947.58

Offaly

370.10

Roscommon

368.78

Sligo

369.54

South Dublin

1,133.40

Westmeath

415.68

Wexford

748.72

Wicklow

653.35

Cork City

1,211.91

Dublin City

5,324.60

Galway City

389.03

Limerick City & County

1,124.13

Waterford City & County

737.89

Local Authority Total

27,173.49

Homeless Persons Data

Ceisteanna (234)

Ruth Coppinger

Ceist:

234. Deputy Ruth Coppinger asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government the mortality rates in emergency homeless accommodation; if the matter is being examined and assessed; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [24692/19]

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 accommodation and associated services for homeless persons rests with individual housing authorities. Accordingly, my Department does not hold data in relation to mortality rates in emergency accommodation.

In general, the provision of emergency accommodation is contracted out by local authorities to NGO homeless service providers. Local authorities work with these service providers to ensure that appropriate supports are in place in all emergency homeless accommodation, including the provision of health supports where required. My Department has increased the budget available to local authorities to provide homeless service by over 25% this year to €146m.

Many of the individuals accessing homeless services require significant health supports and the local authorities work closely with the HSE to ensure the coordinated delivery of the necessary housing and health supports. In addition, my Department meets regularly with the lead local authorities responsible for the coordination of homeless services at the regional level to discuss policy, legislative and funding issues relating to the quality delivery of homeless services.

An Bord Pleanála Applications

Ceisteanna (235)

Joan Burton

Ceist:

235. Deputy Joan Burton asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government if his attention has been drawn to the difficulty in tracking strategic housing development planning applications including co-living proposals through An Bord Pleanála and its respective website; his plans to ensure information on planning applications is more easily accessible to the general public in order that local communities are informed regarding planning applications in their area; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [24699/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Housing)

The Planning and Development (Housing) and Residential Tenancies Act 2016 provides for streamlined arrangements to enable planning applications for strategic housing developments (SHD) to be made directly to An Bord Pleanála (the Board) for determination.  The Planning and Development (Strategic Housing Development) Regulations 2017 supplement the provisions in the 2016 Act and prescribe the detailed procedural and administrative matters relating to proposed SHD.

The new procedures relating to applications for SHD include provisions relating to public notification, site notice and public consultation of any such proposals.  In this regard, the applicant must (i) erect a site notice in a conspicuous position on the land in which it is proposed to carry out a SHD, (ii) publish a notice of a SHD proposal in one or more newspapers circulating in the area in which it is proposed to carry out a SHD, and (iii) make the application available for public viewing on a website set up for this purpose. Furthermore, a SHD application must also be available to view by members of the public in the offices of the Board and the relevant planning authority, while members of the public also have the opportunity of a 5-week public consultation period to submit any written observations on a proposed SHD to the Board before the Board makes a determination on the application.  

Additionally, the 2017 Regulations provide for the publication of a weekly list of applications received and applications determined or otherwise disposed of by the Board in relation to SHD cases. These weekly lists are available to view on the Board's website at www.pleanala.ie/.

I am satisfied that there are appropriate notification procedures in place to ensure that the public are informed of proposed SHD planning applications.

Local Authority Functions

Ceisteanna (236)

Thomas Pringle

Ceist:

236. Deputy Thomas Pringle asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government his views on the decision based on advice of officials of Kilkenny County Council by a majority vote to ban the presence of the media and members of the public from SPC meetings in standing orders; his plans to issue guidance to local authorities on the matter; if the Local Government Act 2014 will be amended to ensure that all meetings of local authorities are publicly accessible and broadcast over the Internet as matter of course and transparency; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [24755/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Housing)

Section 45(5) of the Local Government Act 2001 provides that a local authority may, by standing orders, regulate the right of members of the public and members of the media to be present at meetings of the Council. This includes meetings of Strategic Policy Committees (SPCs), whose role is to advise and assist the Council in the formulation, development and review of policy.

This provision would include the making, by standing orders, of rules in relation to the recording or relaying of the proceedings as they take place or at a later stage. It is therefore a matter for the elected members of each local authority to decide in the first instance to webcast local authority meetings and then to allocate sufficient funding from their annual budget for the provision of such facilities.  

My Department, however, recognises the potential in the use of technology to strengthen local democracy, leadership and governance and potential measures to boost local government leadership and accountability in the area of e-Democracy and e-Governance will be considered further.

An Bord Pleanála Review

Ceisteanna (237)

Alan Kelly

Ceist:

237. Deputy Alan Kelly asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government the implementation status of the organisational review of An Bord Pleanála published in 2016; and the implementation status of each of the 101 recommendations contained in the report in tabular form. [24766/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Housing)

An Organisational Review of An Bord Pleanála, was undertaken by an independent expert panel and published in March 2016.

An Implementation Group, comprising representation from my Department and An Bord Pleanála (the Board), was established to oversee the implementation of the expert panel recommendations.  The Implementation Group has met on a number of occasions, to consider the recommendations across a number of common themes relating to legislative provisions, communications and stakeholder engagement, the Board's role and governance, along with organisational and operational matters. 

The Implementation Group published its Terms of Reference and Plan for Implementation in 2016.  The Implementation Group will continue its work over the coming months with a view to publishing its final report on implementation by the end of Q3 2019.

The Department met recently with the Board to discuss finalising this report and a formal meeting of the Implementation Group will be held in Q3 2019. A significant number of the review actions relate to legislative matters. My Department is continuously reviewing planning legislation and these recommendations are considered as part of that process. It is understood that the Implementation Group is on course to publish its final report before the end of Q3 2019. 

Fire Safety

Ceisteanna (238)

Róisín Shortall

Ceist:

238. Deputy Róisín Shortall asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government the position in respect of the promised regulatory change regarding fire safety of buildings following the fire in Newbridge in April 2015, the Carrickmines fire in October 2015, the Clongriffin fire in November 2016, the Clondalkin fire in March 2017, the Santry fire in March 2018 and others; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [24787/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Housing)

There have been a range of measures progressed in relation to fire safety in buildings, over recent years, both on foot of some of the events the Deputy refers to and indeed other international events.

In the aftermath of the Grenfell Tower tragedy in June 2017, and in recognition of fears expressed for fire safety, my Department's National Directorate for Fire and Emergency Management was asked to convene and coordinate a Task Force to lead a re-appraisal of our approach to fire safety in Ireland. The work of the Task Force has now been completed and its findings are reflected in “Fire Safety in Ireland: Report of the Fire Safety Task Force”, which was published and is available on my Department's website at the following link:

www.housing.gov.ie/sites/default/files/publications/files/fire_safety_in_ireland_-_report_of_the_fire_safety_task_force.pdf.

The Directorate's Management Board has been tasked with implementation of the recommendations within its remit, and oversight of the implementation of other recommendations. Work to implement the report’s recommendations is under way, including proposals for new regulatory provisions for management of fire safety in buildings to which section 18(2) of the Fire Services Acts applies.

Following the tragic loss of life in Carrickmines, County Dublin on 10 October 2015, my Department’s National Directorate for Fire and Emergency Management (NDFEM) was tasked with developing and overseeing a Programme to review and enhance Fire Safety in Local Authority provided Traveller accommodation. This was undertaken in association with and supported by Travellers’ representative groups. As part of the review process, a working draft of a “Guide to Fire Safety in Existing Traveller Accommodation” was developed, including fire safety advice, guidance and standards applicable in various types of Traveller accommodation.

Fire safety in domestic settings is a shared responsibility, and the guide emphasises an approach to life safety through the prevention of fires, fire safety awareness and early detection and warning of fire through working smoke alarms. My Department published the "Report on the Programme to Review and Enhance Fire Safety in Local Authority provided Traveller Accommodation" on 21 September 2016, which is available at the following link:

www.housing.gov.ie/sites/default/files/publications/files/report_on_review_of_fire_safety_in_local_authority_provided_traveller_accommodation.pdf.

In July 2015, a review was undertaken by an independent fire expert to develop a framework for general application, in the interest of supporting owners and residents living in developments where concerns regarding non-compliance with fire safety requirements arise.

This review was completed and the 'Framework for Enhancing Fire Safety in dwellings where concerns arise', was published on 25 August 2017. The framework which is available on my Department's website at:

www.housing.gov.ie/sites/default/files/publications/files/framework_for_enhancing_fire_safety_in_dwellings.pdf contains the following:

- an explanation of the statutory provisions in respect of fire safety, namely the Building Control Acts 1990 to 2014 and the Fire Services Acts 1981 & 2003, and the respective responsibilities of owners, designers, builders, occupants, local authorities;

- a range of actions that may reduce risk and improve the level of fire safety where deficiencies arise in dwelling houses, apartments and/or the common areas of apartment buildings; and

- a fire risk assessment methodology for professional advisors to prioritise the remedial actions, if any, that may need to be carried out on a dwelling.

The Framework is intended to be used as a guide by the owners and occupants of dwellings where fire safety deficiencies have been identified, or are a cause for concern. In addition to owners and occupants, the Framework will also be of assistance to professional advisors both in developing strategies to improve fire safety and in developing strategies to enable the continued occupation in advance of undertaking the necessary works to ensure compliance with the relevant Building Regulations.

From a regulatory perspective, Part B (Fire Safety) of the second schedule to the Building Regulations is under review. In this context, a new Part B/ TGD B Volume 2 (2017) came into force on 1 July 2017. This Volume 2 applies to dwelling houses only. Important revisions in the TGD B Volume 2 include enhanced provision for fire detection and alarm systems in dwelling houses, guidance on fire safety in community dwelling houses, guidance on timber frame construction, including new provisions in respect of timber frame party walls, enhanced provisions in respect of loft conversions, new provisions for galleries in dwelling houses and other general updates. A revised Volume 1, dealing with buildings other than dwelling houses (including apartment buildings), is being prepared for public consultation at present.

Finally, in response to the building failures that have emerged over the last decade my Department has advanced a robust and focused Building Control Reform Agenda, including:

- Amendments to the Building Control Regulations;

- Establishment of a shared services National Building Control Management Project; and

- The ongoing development of new legislation through the Building Control (Construction Industry Register Ireland) Bill.

These reforms have already brought, and will continue to bring, a new order and discipline to bear on construction projects, creating an enhanced culture of compliance with the Building Regulations.

Planning Issues

Ceisteanna (239, 240)

Catherine Murphy

Ceist:

239. Deputy Catherine Murphy asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government the rules and regulations regarding solar panels on domestic dwellings; the restrictions on the positions they can be located on a dwelling; the number of same that can be attached to a dwelling; and if he has consulted with the Department of Communications, Climate Action and Environment regarding allowing for energy generated from the panels to be directed back into the national grid. [24800/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Catherine Murphy

Ceist:

240. Deputy Catherine Murphy asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government his plans to update the Planning and Development Acts in the context of aspects regarding solar panel use in domestic or commercial new builds; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [24801/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Housing)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 239 and 240 together.

Under the Planning and Development Act 2000, as amended, all development, unless specifically exempted under the Act or associated Regulations, requires planning permission.  Section 4 of the Act and Schedule 2 of the Planning and Development Regulations 2001, as amended, set out various exemptions from the requirement to obtain planning permission.  Any such exemptions are subject to compliance with any general restrictions on exemptions set out in the Act or the Regulations and to the specific conditions set out in each class of exempted development in Schedule 2 of the Regulations.

With regard to exemptions for solar panels, Class 2 of Part 1 of Schedule 2 of the Regulations provides an exemption for "the installation or erection of a solar panel on, or within the curtilage of a house or any buildings within the curtilage of a house", subject to certain siting and size conditions.

Class 56 of Part 1 of Schedule 2 of the Regulations provides an exemption for "the installation or erection on or within the curtilage of an industrial building, or any ancillary buildings within the curtilage of an industrial building, of solar panels (thermal collector or photo- voltaic)", subject to specific conditions.  Additional exemptions also exist under Class 56 for business premises and light industrial buildings.

Furthermore, Class 18 of Part 3 of Schedule 2 of the Regulations provides an exemption for "the installation or erection on an agricultural structure, or within the curtilage of an agricultural holding, of solar panels (thermal collector or photo-voltaic)", again subject to a number of conditions. 

Exemptions from the requirement to obtain planning permission in respect of specific forms of development are provided for when they are considered to be consistent with proper planning and sustainable development.

My Department is currently undertaking a review of the solar panel exemptions, in consultation with the Department of Communications, Climate Action and Environment and other key stakeholders, with a view to bringing forward amending Regulations, as may be required - for example, to reflect technical developments in the sector - in the latter part of 2019.  As required under the Planning code, any such proposed exempted development regulations must be laid in draft form before the Oireacthas and receive a positive resolution from both Houses before they can be made.

Matters relating to energy policy, such as allowing for energy generated from solar panels to be directed towards back into the national grid, fall outside the scope of the planning system and are a matter for my colleague, the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment. 

Local Infrastructure Housing Activation Fund

Ceisteanna (241, 242, 243)

Darragh O'Brien

Ceist:

241. Deputy Darragh O'Brien asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government the timeframe for the delivery of affordable units under the local infrastructure housing activation fund; the location of the units on a local authority basis; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [24817/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Darragh O'Brien

Ceist:

242. Deputy Darragh O'Brien asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government the estimated average price reduction per unit for units provided under the local infrastructure housing activation fund; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [24818/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Darragh O'Brien

Ceist:

243. Deputy Darragh O'Brien asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government the drawdown of funding under LIHAF to date by project; the number of units delivered per project to date; the number projected per project; the number of affordable units to be provided per project; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [24819/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Housing)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 241 to 243, inclusive, together.

As a key initiative of the Rebuilding Ireland Action Plan for Housing and Homelessness, the Local Infrastructure Housing Activation Fund (LIHAF) is primarily designed to fund the provision of public off-site infrastructure to relieve critical infrastructure blockages and enable housing developments to be built on key sites at scale.

In respect of the delivery of affordable housing, this is being delivered through a range of mechanisms, including the Local Infrastructure Housing Activation Fund (LIHAF); direct delivery from State land supported by the Serviced Sites Fund (SSF); and delivery by the Land Development Agency.

LIHAF, while not put in place as an Affordable Housing Scheme within the normal understanding of that term, is a measure designed to activate housing supply, which is a crucial factor in terms of moderating house prices and thereby improving affordability generally. In addition, a specific affordability dividend is being secured on most projects, either through local affordable housing schemes administered by the local authorities under the LIHAF Programme, or LIHAF cost reduced units. 2,300 affordable homes will be delivered on mainly publicly owned lands supported through LIHAF, subject to planning permission, along with an additional 5,686 homes which will benefit from a LIHAF-related cost reduction, some of which are already coming to market.

Details on all of the LIHAF projects by local authority area, budget allocation, project timeframe and description, and housing delivery have been published on the Rebuilding Ireland website and are available at the following link: www.rebuildingireland.ie/LIHAF.

In terms of LIHAF funding drawdown, thus far, most projects have been at the design and planning stages, with the bulk of expenditure arising during the construction phase, and this is reflected in the level of expenditure to date. As more projects progress further through construction/completion of infrastructure works it is expected that the drawdown will increase significantly during the rest of 2019 and 2020.

The following tables give details of LIHAF drawndown to end Q1 2019 and delivery of projects including affordable units and cost reduced units which are part of the affordable measures being delivered through LIHAF. Further drawdown of funds is envisaged in the coming weeks once Q2 2019 claims are submitted by local authorities.

Local Authority

Project Name

Residential Units Delivered to Date

Cost Reduced/ Affordable LIHAF Units

Cork County

Carrigaline

100

0

Fingal

Oldtown/ Mooretown

144

144 cost reduced

Kildare

Naas

163

150 cost reduced

Meath

Ratoath

82

10 Affordable Units

South Dublin

Adamstown SDZ

325

325 cost reduced

Local Authority

LIHAF Project name

Total funding under LIHAF€M

Drawdown of LIHAF funding to end Q1 2019

Total Projected housing units to be delivered by 2021

Projected Number of Affordable Housing units 

Projected Number of Cost Reduced Housing Units

Clare

Claureen, Ennis

3.66

86,009

200

0

180

Cork City

Old Whitechurch Road

9.89

3,308,511

600

216

0

Cork City

South Docks

15.50

564,225

620

40

0

Cork County

Midleton (Water-rock)

5.50

288,804

520

0

202

Cork County

Carrigaline

0.60

60,624

400

0

0

 Cork County

Glanmire

5.90

156,778

300

0

110

Dublin City

Dodder Bridge

15.75

126,464

1500

450

0

Dublin City

Belmayne Clongriffin

3.00

93,583

850

120

270

Dun Laoghaire Rathdown

Cherrywood

15.19

333,504

2000

300

0

Dun Laoghaire Rathdown

Clay Farm

4.70

0

350

0

50

Dun Laoghaire Rathdown

Woodbrook Shanganagh

4.16

0

1242

390

0

Fingal

Donabate Distributor Road

14.16

6,817,680

1200

40

900

Fingal

Oldtown Mooretown

4.90

302,035

800

0

720

Fingal

Baldoyle Stapolin 

6.18

274,561

500

0

450

Kildare 

Sallins

0.93

654,584

250

0

0

Kildare

Naas

6.00

237,563

800

0

658

Kildare

Maynooth

14.50

205,541

800

0

720

Kilkenny

Ferrybank

0.62

18,626

200

0

0

Kilkenny

Western Environs

6.76

378,827

530

0

423

Limerick

Mungret

10.50

1,168,859

401

60

179

Louth 

Newtown Drogheda

1.22

44,867

200

0

180

Louth 

Mount Avenue Dundalk

3.33

46,854

212

0

63

Meath

Ratoath

3.15

151,596

266

0

20

Meath

Farganstown, Navan

5.68

292,456

400

0

75

South Dublin

Adamstown

20.00

50,290

2000

600

0

South Dublin

Kilcarbery / Corkagh Grange

4.39

226,345

1000

84

0

South Dublin

Clonburris SDZ

3.00

10,681

1000

0

0

Waterford City and County Council

Gracedieu

1.32

52,234

238

0

126

Waterford City and County Council

Kilbarry

3.39

94,590

400

0

360

Westmeath

Brawny Road, Athlone

1.83

52,500

200

0

0

Totals

195.71

16,099,189

19979

2300

5686

Figures are projected from information submitted by Local Authorities and may be subject to change as sites move through the planning process.

Housing Data

Ceisteanna (244)

Darragh O'Brien

Ceist:

244. Deputy Darragh O'Brien asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government the number of housing projects approved under the urban regeneration and development fund or the rural regeneration and development fund to date; the anticipated number of units; the number of affordable units; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [24820/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Housing)

Project Ireland 2040, as launched by the Government in February 2018, is the overarching policy and planning framework for the social, economic and cultural development of Ireland.  It includes a detailed capital investment plan for the period 2018 to 2027, the National Development Plan (NDP) 2018-2027, and the 20-year National Planning Framework (NPF).

The NPF sets a new long-term strategic planning and investment context for Ireland over the next 20 years, outlining at high-level a national vision for Ireland to 2040, which will establish the principles to manage future population and economic growth, catering for 1 million extra people, 600,000 extra jobs and over 500,000 extra homes. As part of this, the future housing needs of our growing population are of course among the key issues that will be addressed through the NPF. 

The NDP established four new funds, with a combined allocation of €4 billion to 2027.  The Urban Regeneration and Development Fund (URDF), which is the fund operated by my Department, was launched last year and has an overall provision of €2 billion to 2027.  €58m is available in 2019 to provide initial support to the 88 projects announced last November on foot of the first call for proposals.  €550 million is included in the NDP to provide further support for these and other similar projects up to 2022. 

The URDF was established to support applicant led projects that will contribute to regeneration and rejuvenation of Ireland’s five cities and other large towns, in line with the objectives of the NPF and the NDP. The aim is to achieve more compact,  sustainable and mixed use development, with a view to ensuring that more parts of our urban areas can become attractive and vibrant places in which people choose to live and work, as well as to invest and to visit. This will be done by supporting proposals that contribute to the re-development of key brownfield areas both by enabling infrastructure and new master-planned development proposals.

While the URDF is not intended to provide direct support for particular housing projects, some of the projects it is currently supporting will enable a significant proportion of residential and mixed-use development to be delivered within the existing built-up footprints of our cities and towns.

The Rural Regeneration and Development Fund  falls within the remit of my colleague, the Minister for Rural and Community Development.

Home Loan Scheme

Ceisteanna (245)

Darragh O'Brien

Ceist:

245. Deputy Darragh O'Brien asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government the number of applicants, number of approved applicants, number of refused applicants, number of applicants sent for further information, amount of funding and loans issued under the Rebuilding Ireland home loan scheme by local authority to date in tabular form; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [24822/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Housing)

The Housing Agency provides a central support service which assesses applications for the Rebuilding Ireland Home Loan on behalf of local authorities and makes recommendations to the authorities to approve or refuse applications. Each local authority must have in place a credit committee and it is a matter for the committee to make the decision on applications for loans, in accordance with the regulations, having regard to the recommendations made by the Housing Agency.

I have asked the Agency to compile figures on the numbers of applications that it has assessed and recommended for approval/decline.  The most recent figures, as at the end of May 2019, indicate that of the 4,193 applications assessed by it since the Rebuilding Ireland Home Loan scheme launched, the Agency had recommended 2,153 applications (51%) for approval. A breakdown by local authority is set out in the Table. The data provided does not include figures on the number of applications returned for further information as this information is not collected.

Local authority

Housing Agency Applications Assessed

Housing Agency Recommended to Approve

Housing Agency Recommended to Decline

Carlow 

55

18 (33%)

37 (67%)

Cavan

14

8 (57%)

6 (43%)

Clare

66

25 (38%)

41 (62%)

Cork City

157

80 (51%)

77 (49%)

Cork County

328

182 (55%)

146 (45%)

Donegal

38

20 (53%)

18 (47%)

Dublin City

464

288 (62%)

176 (38%)

DL/Rathdown

111

64 (58%)

47 (42%)

Fingal

580

339 (58%)

241 (42%)

Galway City

91

48 (53%)

43 (47%)

Galway County

143

56 (39%)

87 (61%)

Kerry

100

46 (46%)

54 (54%)

Kildare

172

87 (51%)

85 (49%)

Kilkenny

38

21 (55%)

17 (45%)

Laois

93

50 (54%)

43 (46%)

Leitrim

14

4 (29%)

10 (71%)

Limerick

114

71 (62%)

43 (38%)

Longford

44

20 (45%)

24 (55%)

Louth 

107

43 (40%)

64 (60%)

Mayo

62

28 (45%)

34 (55%)

Meath

242

167 (69%)

75 (31%)

Monaghan

34

14 (41%)

20 (59%)

Offaly

45

18 (40%)

27 (60%)

Roscommon

44

20 (45%)

24 (55%)

Sligo

47

24 (51%)

23 (49%)

South Dublin 

306

164 (54%)

142 (46%)

Tipperary

115

51 (44%)

64 (56%)

Waterford

69

29 (42%)

40 (58%)

Westmeath

33

23 (70%)

10 (30%)

Wexford

112

63 (56%)

49 (44%)

Wicklow

169

82 (49%)

87 (51%)

Total

4193

2153 (51%)

2040 (49%)

In addition to this, my Department publishes information on the overall number and value of (i) local authority loan approvals and (ii) local authority loan drawdowns.  Information up to the end of Quarter 1 2019, including in relation to number and value of mortgage drawdowns, is available on the Department's website at the following link: www.housing.gov.ie/housing/statistics/house-prices-loans-and-profile-borrowers/local-authority-loan-activity.

Approved Housing Bodies

Ceisteanna (246, 247)

Darragh O'Brien

Ceist:

246. Deputy Darragh O'Brien asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government the number of approved housing body applications for capital advance leasing facility loans in each of the years 2011 to 2018 and to date in 2019; the number of housing units applied for per annum; the number and value of applications approved and associated housing units; the number and value of applications and associated units refused per annum; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [24823/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Darragh O'Brien

Ceist:

247. Deputy Darragh O'Brien asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government the provision for capital advance leasing facility loans in 2019; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [24824/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Housing)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 246 and 247 together.

Approved Housing Bodies (AHBs) are making an important contribution to social housing delivery, as envisaged in Rebuilding Ireland. My Department and local authorities administer a number of funding programmes to assist AHBs with the cost of building, buying and leasing new social houses. All funding is conditional on the properties being made available to households on local authority waiting lists.

Under the Social Housing Current Expenditure Programme (SHCEP), my Department, together with local authorities, can support AHBs to construct, purchase or lease housing units and make them available for social housing. The housing units are secured under long-term leases/availability arrangements between local authorities and AHBs, the cost of which is recouped to local authorities by my Department. The Capital Advance Leasing Facility (CALF) funding is capital support provided to AHBs by local authorities to facilitate the funding of construction, acquisition or refurbishment of new social housing units, including units acquired through the establishment of the Housing Agency Acquisition Fund.

The capital advance, which is up to 30% of the value of the eligible capital costs, is repayable by the AHB to the local authority at the end of a Payment and Availability (P&A) agreement, usually 30 years. All proposals for CALF are submitted to my Department by AHBs for review, to ensure that each project complies with the terms of the CALF and that there are sufficient funds available.

To date, 26 AHBs have availed of CALF to secure homes for social housing use. Funding eligibility is aligned to those AHBs signed up to and demonstrating compliance with the Voluntary Regulation Code.

AHBs and local authorities work closely on a local basis to plan and programme new social housing supply. This collaborative approach ensures that there is local authority support for a project prior to submission to my Department for funding approval. Applications for funding for a scheme or individual homes, which have not progressed, may have been withdrawn by local authorities or AHBs for various reasons, including the opportunities no longer being available. In many cases, the applications are resubmitted with revisions or by another AHB.

The CALF was introduced in 2011 and only a small number of AHBs availed of the facility during the period 2011 to 2013, delivering a total of 498 additional social housing homes under the scheme. Only over the last number of years has the sector moved to accessing private funding/ borrowing and moving away from full exchequer support. Since 2014, the number of homes delivered using CALF support has increased significantly year on year, along with Exchequer funding to support AHBs to access finance for the provision of new social housing.

Delivery under CALF since 2014 is set out in the following table.

CALF

2014

2015

2016

2017

2018

Homes Delivered

319

374

566

1,257

2,315

At the end of Q4 2018, there were some 3,600 homes approved for delivery either by building or acquisition using CALF and P&A support, which are scheduled to be delivered out to 2022. As of June 2019, €284 million had been loaned by local authorities to AHBs as CALF funding and a further €244 million has been approved for lending.

Owing to the nature of the CALF, home delivery does not always arise in the same year as expenditure is incurred. Schemes delivered under phased programmes may cross a number of payment periods. A provision of €94.4 million is available for CALF in 2019.

Expenditure under CALF since 2014 is set out in the following table.

CALF

2014

2015

2016

2017

2018

Expenditure

4.447m

13.374m

35.677m

55.677m

120.881m

In terms of social housing delivery, we are continuing to build on the significant progress that was made between 2016 and 2018 in terms of supporting new households. My Department is currently validating returns from all 31 local authorities and will shortly be publishing the local authority breakdown of delivery against targets for Quarter 1.

Indicative delivery outputs reflect that more than 5,800 additional housing supports have been provided in the first three months of this year across all of the various social housing delivery programmes, including build, acquisition, leasing, HAP and RAS. This includes more than 1,200 additional social homes provided by local authorities and AHBs under build, acquisition and leasing programmes.

As you will be aware, my Department publishes a quarterly Construction Status Report. This report is a compendium of the new build programme across the 31 local authorities for new build social housing activity for the duration of Rebuilding Ireland.

By end 2018, the number of new build social homes now delivered or in the pipeline stood at over 19,000 of the overall build target of 33,600, with nearly 5,000 homes on site and under construction and a further 2,569 homes at the final pre-construction stage. The Quarter 1 2019 Report will be finalised in the coming days, and given the rate of new projects being added to the programme, going on site, and completing, I expect this to show a strong pipeline against the overall target.

Details of the annual social housing output for each of the local authority areas, as well as the specific output under each of the funding programmes, are available on my Department's website at the following link: www.housing.gov.ie/housing/social-housing/social-and-affordble/overall-social-housing-provision.

Seirbhísí Eitilte

Ceisteanna (248)

Éamon Ó Cuív

Ceist:

248. D'fhiafraigh Deputy Éamon Ó Cuív den Aire Cultúir, Oidhreachta agus Gaeltachta an bhfuil aon mheasúnú déanta, nó an bhfuil sé i gceist aon mheasúnú a dhéanamh, ar na feidearthachtaí atá ann chun síneadh beag a chur leis na haerstráicí a úsáidtear le seirbhís aeir a chur ar fáil do na hoileáin chun gur féidir leo eitleán a d’fhéadfadh 20 paisinéir a iompar in aon tráth amháin, a ghlacadh; cén síneadh a bheadh i gceist i ngach cás lena dtabhairt cothrom le caighdeán 1,800 troigh; agus an ndéanfaidh sí ráiteas ina thaobh. [24610/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Culture)

Mar is eol don Teachta, tá ceithre aerstráice i gceist leis an tseirbhís aeir atá á cur ar fáil d'Oileáin Árann - ceann ar an mórthír ag Aerfort Chonamara agus ceann ar gach aon cheann de na trí oileáin.  Is féidir liom a dheimhniú don Teachta nach bhfuil aon mheasúnú déanta ag mo Roinn ar an bhféidearthacht síneadh a chur leo. 

Chun tabhairt faoina leithéid, bheadh gá comhairle a ghlacadh le hÚdarás Eitlíochta na hÉireann agus ar ndóigh, bheadh impleachtaí pleanála agus comhshaoil ann, gan trácht ar an gcostas a bheadh leis.  Níl aon phleananna ag mo Roinn tabhairt faoin obair seo.

Departmental Funding

Ceisteanna (249)

Marcella Corcoran Kennedy

Ceist:

249. Deputy Marcella Corcoran Kennedy asked the Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht the local festivals and summer schools being supported by her Department in the 2019 scheme in County Offaly; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [24671/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Culture)

My Department ran a Small Scale Local Festivals and Summer Schools funding scheme, applications for which closed on 19th April 2019. €75,000 was allocated to this scheme with maximum funding of €5,000 available per applicant.  Grants are awarded on a competitive assessment basis.

There as unprecedented demand for this scheme in 2019 with 109 applications received (there were 71 in 2018 and 20 in 2017, the latter being the first year of the scheme). 

It is my intention to announce the results of the 2019 Small Scale Local Festivals and Summer Schools Scheme in the coming week and details of allocations will be published thereafter on my Department's website at www.chg.gov.ie/arts/culture/grants-and-funding/small-scale-local-festivals-summer-schools/.

Special Areas of Conservation

Ceisteanna (250)

Marcella Corcoran Kennedy

Ceist:

250. Deputy Marcella Corcoran Kennedy asked the Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht the level of interest in the peatlands community engagement scheme 2019; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [24673/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Culture)

Following a successful pilot phase in 2018, on 24 April this year, I announced that applications were open for the 2019 peatlands community engagement scheme.  The scheme, which is administered by the National Parks and Wildlife Service of my Department, aims to encourage local communities, groups, schools and other interested parties to engage with my Department in relation to the conservation of raised bog special areas of conservation, natural heritage areas and other raised bog areas and to promote public engagement and awareness of our natural heritage.

The objective of the scheme is to support a diverse range of initiatives from events, education programmes, promotions, exhibitions, local area improvements, the development of conservation and management plans, amenity and local bog area improvements such as invasive species control near and within raised bog special areas of conservation, natural heritage areas or other raised bog areas. Applications were accepted for the scheme up to 4pm on Friday, 31 May 2019.

18 applications were received by the closing date and will be evaluated in the coming weeks by a panel, established by my Department. The panel will make recommendations to me, as Minister, for funding of projects.  Projects will be evaluated based on the information submitted and under the required criteria of the scheme. 

It is anticipated that applicants will be notified whether they have been successful in securing funding under the scheme in early July.

In 2018, 12 peatland community initiatives were supported under the scheme to an amount of approximately €137,000. This year, the budgetary allocation to the scheme is €200,000. 

National Biodiversity Plan

Ceisteanna (251)

Marcella Corcoran Kennedy

Ceist:

251. Deputy Marcella Corcoran Kennedy asked the Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht the measures being undertaken in County Offaly to protect and restore biodiversity in view of the rising awareness among the public of the need to protect biodiversity; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [24689/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Culture)

My Department is responsible for implementing the Wildlife Act, the primary legislation underpinning the protection of biodiversity and nature in Ireland. The Wildlife Act affords protection to a range of habitats and species and provides for regulation and control of activities that impinge on biodiversity, such as hunting and trade.  

The legislative framework in place to protect biodiversity is further strengthened by the European Communities (Birds and Natural Habitats) Regulations 2011 SI No 477/2011, which also fall under the remit of my Department. These Regulations transpose the EU Birds Directive and the EU Habitats Directive into national law, and provide for protection of certain habitats and species across the European Union and give a framework for specific measures to be taken to target areas of concern in each Member State. The main instruments provided for are the designation of Special Protection Areas (SPA) aimed at the protection of threatened species of birds and Special Areas of Conservation (SAC) aimed at protecting other animal species and habitats. There are currently 18 SAC sites and 6 SPA sites designated in County Offaly.

These include the Slieve Bloom Mountains Nature Reserve, Ireland’s largest state-owned Nature Reserve. It was established in 1985, so that it could be managed in such a way as to ensure the conservation of the mountain blanket bog ecosystem. In addition, the Nature Reserve is designated a Ramsar Wetland Site and a Council of Europe Biogenetic Reserve. Much of the greater upland area has been designated as a Special Area of Conservation (SAC). The primary interest of the SAC is mountain blanket bog.

The Slieve Bloom Mountains are also designated a Special Protection Area (SPA), of special conservation interest for the hen harrier, a rare bird of prey. The Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine are operating "the  Hen Harrier Project" in 6 SPAs, including the Slieve Blooms, which aims to reward farmers for managing their land to favour the Hen Harrier. 

Clara Bog in County Offaly is one of the best remaining examples of midland raised bog in Western Europe. The Clara Bog Nature Reserve Visitor Centre includes an interactive exhibition space and is open seasonally from May to October and admission is free to the public.

My Department is also responsible for developing and publishing Ireland's National Biodiversity Action Plan. The most recent Plan (Ireland's 3rd) was published in October 2017 and includes a number of actions aimed at assisting local authorities throughout the country in their efforts to protect and conserve biodiversity in their areas. Local authorities undertake much valuable work in this sphere and are an important element in the overall approach to halting biodiversity loss. 

In support of the work carried out by local authorities, last February I announced at the National Biodiversity Conference a commitment in the coming years to double the funding my Department makes available for local Heritage and Biodiversity Officers to implement biodiversity actions at local level and to tackle invasive species. I am pleased that the pilot grant scheme, introduced in 2018, to assist local authority led biodiversity projects will be extended with increased funding in 2019.

In 2018, under this grant scheme, Offaly County Council received biodiversity funding of €13,600 from my Department for the conducting of Swift surveys; support for the All Ireland Pollinator Plan; Tidy Towns support; and conducting workshops in schools and preschools. They also received additional funding of €4,800 for the control of Himalayan Balsam, as part of a local invasive alien species project.

  I look forward to local authorities, including Offaly County Council, using the funding available in 2019 in their areas to support locally led and targeted biodiversity projects, supporting the implementation of our National Biodiversity Action Plan and raising awareness of biodiversity generally. The allocation of these grants will be announced in the coming weeks.