Electric Vehicles

Ceisteanna (670)

Thomas Byrne

Ceist:

670. Deputy Thomas Byrne asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government his plans to provide guidelines to the planning authorities with regard to the minimum number of electric car charging points there should be in new car parking facilities seeking planning permission. [25417/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Housing)

The Government’s Climate Action Plan 2019, launched on 17 June 2019, contains a number of actions to increase substantially the penetration of electric vehicles and the supply of necessary infrastructure to facilitate planned growth and stay sufficiently ahead of demand. A number of these actions, including the development of an overarching charging infrastructure strategy, which will review and update the targets for the supply of public charging infrastructure for electric vehicles, are within the remit of my colleague the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and the Environment.

In this context, my Department will lead on the updating of planning rules and guidelines, as appropriate, based on updated standards, grid requirements and implementation of the Energy Performance of Buildings Directive (EU) 2018/844. This work will be informed by the ongoing work of an inter-Departmental Taskforce (which includes my Department), established to consider the range of measures and options available to Government to accelerate the take-up of low carbon technologies in the road transport sector. It will also complement building control measures under regulations transposing the Energy Performance of Buildings Directive (EU) 2018/844, which will be put in place by 10 March 2020.

Capital Assistance Scheme Funding

Ceisteanna (671)

Eoin Ó Broin

Ceist:

671. Deputy Eoin Ó Broin asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government the capital assistance scheme, CAS, allocation for 2019 as agreed in budget 2019; the number of applications for CAS funding to date in 2019; the value of the applications; the number of approvals for CAS funding to date in 2019; the value of the applications; the amount of funding remaining from the initial CAS allocation for 2019; if AHBs can continue to make applications for the remainder of 2019; and if not, the reason therefore. [25420/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Housing)

The Capital Assistance Scheme (CAS) is operated on an open basis and AHBs can submit new proposals to local authorities at any time. The 2019 funding provision is €94.875 million, €16.9 million of which had been drawn down as at 14 June 2019.

CAS is administered by the local authorities who may advance loans of up to 100% of eligible project costs to AHBs, with that funding recouped to the authorities by my Department. As the scheme is administered by the local authorities, my Department does not have details of the number of applications received by them from AHBs. However, my Department has received over 100 proposals from the local authorities to date this year, with a value of some €40 million. So far this year, some 120 approvals with a value of over €35 million have issued to local authorities, which includes applications received in late 2018.

Local Authority Housing Data

Ceisteanna (672)

Eoin Ó Broin

Ceist:

672. Deputy Eoin Ó Broin asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government the number of applications for serviced sites funding; the locations and number of units in each application; the value of the applications; the number of applications approved; and the price range agreed with each local authority for the sale price of the properties. [25421/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Housing)

One of the mechanisms available to local authorities to help them deliver affordable housing options is the Serviced Sites Fund (SSF). Under the SSF, €310 million is being made available over the 2019 to 2021 period to support the delivery of infrastructure on local authority sites, which will deliver over 6,000 affordable homes. This funding consists of €275 million Exchequer (or 89% contribution), and €35 million from local authorities (or 11% contribution).

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

Details of approved projects under the first call are set out in the following table.

Local Authority

Project/ Location

Total provisional cost of proposal

Provisional Exchequer grant amount

Provisional local authority contribution

Affordable housing potential

Cork County

Glanmire

€1,500,000

€1,335,000

€165,000

20

Cork City

Boherboy Road

€4,968,366

€4,421,846

€546,520

103

Cork City

Kilmore Road, Churchfield

€1,410,551

€1,255,390

€155,160

21

Dublin City

Cherry Orchard

€7,645,415

€6,804,419

€840,996

183

Dublin City

Balbutcher, Ballymun

€4,135,351

€3,680,462

€454,889

74

Dublin City

Sillogue, Ballymun

€3,975,000

€3,537,750

€437,250

83

DLR

Enniskerry Road

€4,537,576

€4,038,443

€499,133

50

Fingal

Church Fields, Mulhuddart

€11,000,000

€9,790,000

€1,210,000

753

Fingal

Dun Emer, Lusk

€1,500,000

€1,335,000

€165,000

74

Fingal

Hackettstown, Skerries

€2,198,667

€1,956,814

€241,853

49

Total

€42,870,926

€38,155,124

€4,715,801

1,410

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 on 9 April 2019, based on the aforementioned economic assessments. The closing date for returns was 17 May 2019 and 31 submissions were received from 15 local authorities. These are currently being assessed by my Department and I intend to issue approvals under this second call in the coming weeks.

Housing Adaptation Grant Funding

Ceisteanna (673)

Brian Stanley

Ceist:

673. Deputy Brian Stanley asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government when the allocation for local authority grants will be forwarded to city and county councils to fund mobility aid and housing adaptation grants for council housing. [25434/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Housing)

My Department provides funding on an annual basis under the Disabled Persons Grants (DPGs) scheme to local authorities for adaptations and extensions to the existing social housing stock to meet the needs of local authority tenants. The scheme applies to works that are necessary to address the needs of older people or people with a disability. This may involve minor adaptations such as stair-lifts, grabs -rails, showers, wet-rooms, ramps etc. It also provides funding for more major adaptations such as extensions, for example in the case of overcrowding, the installation of a downstairs bedroom or bathroom.

My Department provides 90% funding towards the cost of the eligible works per property with the remaining 10% being provided by the local authorities. The local authority can carry out works up to a maximum level of €75,000 per property without the prior approval of the Department. Applications in excess of this amount can be submitted to the Department and will be considered for funding on a case by case basis.

In line with previous years, local authorities were asked to submit details of their work proposals and related funding requirements for this year, in early 2019. The local authority returns have been evaluated and the final funding allocations for 2019 will be issuing shortly.

In the interim and in advance of formal notification of their 2019 funding, to remove any impediment to the undertaking of works, local authorities were advised in early 2019 to proceed with works of up to 65% of their overall 2018 allocation. Notwithstanding this, it is anticipated that the overall available envelope of funds that will be made available in 2019 for the Disabled Persons Grant will increase on the 2018 level. This follows on a previous increase to the 2018 budget to €14 million, up from €12 million in 2017.

Following notification of their funding for 2019, it is a matter for each local authority to prioritise the works required under the scheme in the context of available funding and in line with the terms of the DPG scheme. My Department will also further review 2019 allocations and funding drawdown later this year with a view to considering the allocation of additional funding should it become available. It will be open to local authorities to seek additional funding, once their allocation is fully expended and the relevant funding recouped from the Department.

Traveller Accommodation

Ceisteanna (674, 675)

Anne Rabbitte

Ceist:

674. Deputy Anne Rabbitte asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government the amount of funding allocated and drawn down by Galway County Council for Traveller accommodation for each site around the county for each of the years 2014 to 2018, in tabular form; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [25471/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Anne Rabbitte

Ceist:

675. Deputy Anne Rabbitte asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government the amount of funding returned by Galway County Council that had been ring-fenced for Traveller accommodation for each of the years 2014 to 2018, in tabular form; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [25472/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Housing)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 674 and 675 together.

In accordance with the Housing (Traveller Accommodation) Act 1998, housing authorities have statutory responsibility for the assessment of the accommodation needs of Travellers and the preparation, adoption and implementation of multi-annual Traveller Accommodation Programmes (TAPs) in their areas. My Department’s role is to ensure that there are adequate structures and supports in place to assist the authorities in providing such accommodation, including a national framework of policy, legislation and funding.

The allocations and recoupment profiles for capital Traveller accommodation projects can vary across local authorities given the local priorities, circumstances and project timelines as set out in the TAPs. Local authorities adopted the fourth and current round of TAPs in April 2014, with the five-year rolling programmes running from 2014 to 2018. These programmes provide a road map for local authority investment priorities over the period. They also form the basis for the allocation of funding from my Department for Traveller accommodation. Preparations are underway for the fifth TAP programme, 2019-2024.

Housing authorities submit funding proposals for individual Traveller-specific projects and developments on an annual basis. These projects are assessed on a case-by-case basis in my Department in advance of allocations being made. There is regular contact between my Department and housing authorities in order to try to ensure maximum progress and drawdown. Local authorities may apply for additional funding throughout the year as needs arise.

The following table sets out the allocation and drawdown for individual sites for Galway County from 2014 to 2018.

Galway County Site Allocation and Drawdown 2014 - 2018

Galway County

Allocation €

Drawdown €

2014

-

-

2015

-

-

2016

117,000

124,000

Gort Bride

117,000

120,000

Special Grant

4,000

2017

625,000

-

Craughwell

460,000

-

Creggaun

150,000

-

Fire Safety Packs

15,000

-

2018

1,080,000

267,000

Capira

100,000

-

Craughwell

450,000

36,000

Creggaun

150,000

7,000

Gort Bride

4,000

-

Fire Safety Packs

15,000

13,000

Tuam Improvement Works

84,000

88,000

Tuam Welfare Facilities

135,000

-

Fire Safety works

143,000

123,000

Departmental Funding

Ceisteanna (676)

Anne Rabbitte

Ceist:

676. Deputy Anne Rabbitte asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government the amount of financial support provided to an organisation (details supplied) in each of the past five years; the non-financial supports provided to the organisation; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [25473/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Housing)

My Department does not fund any homeless service directly but provides funding to housing authorities towards the operational costs of homeless accommodation and related services under Section 10 of the Housing Act, 1988. Under Exchequer funding arrangements, housing authorities must provide at least 10% of the cost of services from their own resources. Furthermore, housing authorities may also incur additional expenditure on homeless related services outside of the Exchequer funding arrangements provided by my Department. Therefore, the exact amounts spent by housing authorities on homeless services, as well as the service providers engaged and other non-financial supports, are a matter for those authorities.

Homeless services are organised on a regional basis with Galway City Council designated as the lead authority for the West region. The West region comprises Galway City Council, Galway County Council, Mayo County Council and Roscommon County Council. Decisions on the range of emergency accommodation services required are a matter for individual housing authorities in consultation with the Management Group of the relevant regional joint Homelessness Consultative Forum.

Financial reports setting out total expenditure on homeless services in each of the nine homeless regions are published on my Department’s website at the following link:

https://www.housing.gov.ie/housing/homelessness/other/homelessness-data.

Approved Housing Bodies

Ceisteanna (677)

Anne Rabbitte

Ceist:

677. Deputy Anne Rabbitte asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government the amount of financial support provided to an association (details supplied) in each of the past five years; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [25474/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Housing)

My Department provides local authorities with a range of funding programmes that support the provision of social housing by Approved Housing Bodies (AHBs). These programmes include supporting the provision of new homes using capital funding, and long-term leasing and rental arrangements using current funding. In each case, the contractual arrangements are between the local authority and the AHBs and my Department recoups to local authorities the eligible payments paid to AHBs in accordance with the various schemes and their conditions. My Department does not provide funding directly to AHBs as financial support for their development or operations.

I understand that the AHB referred to by the Deputy provides accommodation as social housing under the Rental Accommodation Scheme (RAS). The management of individual properties is a matter for each individual local authority in accordance with the contractual arrangements entered into in respect of each property. Further details in this regard in relation to the AHB concerned may be obtained from Galway County Council.

Traveller Accommodation

Ceisteanna (678)

Eamon Scanlon

Ceist:

678. Deputy Eamon Scanlon asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government if funding will be made available to Sligo County Council to deliver a scheme to provide bedroom extensions for a number families at a location (details supplied) as outlined in the draft Traveller accommodation programme 1 July 2019 to 30 June 2024 of the council; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [25475/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Housing)

In accordance with the Housing (Traveller Accommodation) Act 1998, housing authorities have statutory responsibility for the assessment of the accommodation needs of Travellers and the preparation, adoption and implementation of multi-annual Traveller Accommodation Programmes (TAPs) in their areas.  My Department’s role is to ensure that there are adequate structures and supports in place to assist the authorities in providing such accommodation, including a national framework of policy, legislation and funding. 

Housing authorities submit funding proposals to my Department annually for individual Traveller-specific projects, both new developments and renovation and refurbishments. These projects are assessed  in my Department in advance of allocations being made. The capital budget available for the delivery of Traveller accommodation is determined as part of the annual estimates process. A budget of €13m is available for this purpose in 2019, an increase of €1m on the €12m available in 2018. My Department is committed to ensuring that there is sufficient capital funding available to enable  the successful delivery of all Traveller Accommodation  Programmes. 

The Sligo Traveller Accommodation Programme 2019 to 2024 is a draft programme which has not  yet been adopted by the elected members.  While my Department has received a number of proposals in relation to the location concerned, no proposal in relation to bedroom extensions has been received.  Any such proposal, if received, will be considered by my Department.

Foreshore Licence Applications

Ceisteanna (679)

Róisín Shortall

Ceist:

679. Deputy Róisín Shortall asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government further to Parliamentary Question No. 510 of 14 May 2019, the position regarding a foreshore licence for a proposal (details supplied) in County Dublin; if his attention has been drawn to the fact that works have commenced beside this highly environmentally sensitive location, yet the licence has still not been finally drafted by the Chief State Solicitor's Office; the steps he will take to have the works suspended until this is resolved; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [25483/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Housing)

My Department has contacted the applicants for the foreshore licence concerned to confirm that no work is taking place on the foreshore prior to a licence issuing.

The applicants have advised that they are installing a manhole on a public road outside of the foreshore in Portrane. This work is being carried out under a Road Opening Licence permission from Fingal County Council (Ref 2019DF0515).

Homelessness Strategy

Ceisteanna (680)

John Curran

Ceist:

680. Deputy John Curran asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government his views on the recent findings from the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission which said the response to the homelessness crisis was leaving low earners vulnerable to shocks in the housing market and that it was of the opinion that the rise in homelessness had been significantly exacerbated by policy choices; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [25542/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Housing)

Addressing homelessness is a priority for the Government. In 2016, the Government published the Rebuilding Ireland Action Plan on Housing and Homelessness. Rebuilding Ireland is designed to significantly increase the supply of social housing by 50,000 homes in the period to 2021, double the output of overall housing to at least 25,000 homes per annum by 2020, support all tenure types (social, private and rental), and tackle homelessness comprehensively. The Plan is underpinned by over €6 billion in funding. By the end of Quarter 1 2019, 78,000 households had been supported under Rebuilding Ireland and this figure is expected to reach 100,000 by the end of 2019.

While the realisation of these objectives will provide the ultimate solution to addressing housing supply issues, my Department also recognises the need for short-term emergency measures to address issues of homelessness and is providing capital funding to local authorities to provide emergency accommodation, to ensure that there is sufficient shelter for all who require it. The Government has increased the budget available to local authorities to deliver homeless services to €146m in 2019, an increase of over 25% on the 2018 allocation. Local authorities and their service delivery partners work with households experiencing homelessness to identify and secure exits from emergency accommodation to independent tenancies.

During 2018, 5,135 individuals exited homelessness into independent tenancies, an increase of 8% on the 2017 figure of 4,729. My Department will continue to work with local authorities and other relevant stakeholders to ensure further significant progress in this regard this year.

Housing Assistance Payment Data

Ceisteanna (681)

John Curran

Ceist:

681. Deputy John Curran asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government the number of HAP and RAS units in each local authority; the average HAP and RAS payment being made in each local authority in tabular form; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [25543/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Housing)

The Housing Assistance Payment (HAP) scheme is funded through a combination of Exchequer monies and tenant differential rents collected in respect of HAP tenancies. Budget 2019 has increased the Exchequer funding for the HAP scheme to €422 million. This will allow for the continued support of existing HAP households and also meet the needs of the additional 16,760 households targeted under Rebuilding Ireland to be supported by HAP in 2019, as well as supporting the roll-out of the Homeless HAP Place Finder Service across the country.

Limerick City and County Council provides a highly effective HAP transactional shared service on behalf of all local authorities. This HAP Shared Services Centre (SSC) manages all HAP related rental transactions for the tenant, local authority and landlord. At the end of Q1 2019, there were more than 45,900 households in receipt of HAP support and over 27,000 separate landlords and agents providing accommodation to households supported by the scheme.

Details of the number of active HAP tenancies and the average monthly landlord payment at the end of Quarter 1 2019, are set out in the following table:

Local Authority

Active tenancies End Q1 2019

Average Landlord Payment

Local Authority

Active tenancies End Q1 2019

Average Landlord Payment

Carlow County Council

707

€554

Cavan County Council

301

€455

Clare County Council

1,332

€465

Cork City Council

2,167

€774

Cork County Council

3,427

€737

Donegal County Council

1,727

€394

Dublin City Council

2,594

€1,292

Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council

437

€1,359

Fingal County Council

1,436

€1,340

Galway City Council

1,465

€807

Galway County Council

1,052

€711

Kerry County Council

1,002

€516

Kildare County Council

2,042

€921

Kilkenny County Council

866

€578

Laois County Council

715

€581

Leitrim County Council

223

€414

Limerick City and County Council

2,219

€584

Longford County Council

297

€408

Louth County Council

2,786

€846

Mayo County Council

1,158

€506

Meath County Council

1,804

€937

Monaghan County Council

555

€490

Offaly County Council

862

€515

Roscommon County Council

370

€457

Sligo County Council

677

€506

South Dublin County Council

2,657

€1,230

Tipperary County Council

1,772

€492

Waterford City and County Council

1,826

€513

Westmeath County Council

716

€559

Wexford County Council

1,131

€527

Wicklow County Council

1,036

€1,005

Dublin Region Homeless Executive (DRHE)*

4,556

*n/a

* The average monthly landlord payment for tenancies set up by the DRHE are recorded against the individual local authority.

Data for the years 2011 to 2018 on the number and cost of tenancies funded under the Rental Accommodation Scheme (RAS) scheme is available on my Department's website at the following link: http://www.housing.gov.ie/housing/social-housing/social-and-affordble/overall-social-housing-provision.

The most recent RAS data reflects the number of tenancies in place at end March 2019, when there were a total of 18,697 tenancies supported under the scheme.

I am providing €134.3 million to support the cost of RAS in 2019 and this funding will go towards supporting 600 additional RAS tenancies targeted to be achieved by local authorities in 2019 and the ongoing cost of supporting continuing RAS contracts in place at the beginning of 2019. It is not possible to accurately predict the number of tenancies that will be supported by RAS at the end of 2019 as numbers in RAS vary as contracts end, tenants move on to other properties, landlords join or withdraw from the scheme, new tenancies are allocated or vacancies in contracted units are filled.

HAP and RAS continue to be key vehicles in meeting housing need and fulfilling the ambitious programme outlined under the Rebuilding Ireland Action Plan for Housing and Homelessness.

Local Authority Housing Data

Ceisteanna (682)

John Curran

Ceist:

682. Deputy John Curran asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government the number of the local authority housing build target of 6,545 units for 2019 to be provided under headings (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [25544/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Housing)

Earlier this year, I met with local authority Chief Executives to discuss the progress made in their local area, in terms of delivering on the social housing targets set under Rebuilding Ireland. Ambitious targets for this year have been set for each local authority, full details of which are available on the Rebuilding Ireland website at:

http://rebuildingireland.ie/news/social-housing-targets-2019/.

In 2019, it is intended that some 6,545 homes will be delivered for social housing households under various build programmes. The following table sets out the breakdown under the build programme for 2019, as requested.

Delivery Breakdown Requested

Number of units

Additional information

Local Authority New Build

3,294

Includes all local authority new build activity, direct and turnkey, and also new build homes delivered under regeneration schemes

Local Authority Part V

600

AHB Build

1,688

Includes new build delivery under CAS and CALF

AHB Part V

660

Includes new build delivery under CAS and CALF

LA Voids restored to active use under DHPLG Voids programme

303

While local authorities may return a higher number of Voids to active use under the programme, the number of homes which will count against build targets has been capped for each local authority at a maximum number.

CALF- Capital Advance Leasing Facility/ CAS- Capital Assistance Scheme

New build output through local authorities and Approved Housing Bodies (AHBs) will continue to increase over the remainder of the Rebuilding Ireland programme and beyond. The target for 2020 is to deliver an additional 7,736 build units, rising to 8,907 in 2021. Over the lifetime of the Plan, Rebuilding Ireland aims to deliver some 33,617 additional homes through build activity, over 12,400 of which had been delivered to end Q1 2019.

This growing build activity complements other social housing delivery programmes which are being implemented in parallel, including Acquisitions, Leasing, the Housing Assistance Payment (HAP) scheme and the Rental Accommodation Scheme (RAS). In total, just under 78,000 additional households have been supported through the various delivery mechanisms since 2016.

EU Legislation

Ceisteanna (683)

Brendan Griffin

Ceist:

683. Deputy Brendan Griffin asked the Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht her views on a matter (details supplied) regarding EU laws banning lead used in shotgun and rifle cartridges; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [25419/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Culture)

The Agreement on the Conservation of African-Eurasian Migratory Waterbirds (AEWA) was developed under the UN Convention on Migratory Species.   Ireland signed up to the Agreement in 2003.   The agreement includes a commitment that “Parties shall endeavour to phase out the use of lead shot for hunting in wetlands as soon as possible in accordance with self-imposed and published timetables."  My Department’s position is to support the AEWA commitment to phase out the use of lead shot over wetlands.  

The European Commission have published an initial draft Regulation for consideration by Member States on the use of lead shot in wetlands following a report on the matter by the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA).   It is my understanding that the proposal, should it ultimately progress into law, would  make provision for a lead-in time to facilitate the making of arrangements to source alternatives to lead shot.

Heritage Schemes

Ceisteanna (684)

Catherine Murphy

Ceist:

684. Deputy Catherine Murphy asked the Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht the amount of funding directed to the conservation and management of heritage, both natural and built, nationally in 2017, 2018 and to date in 2019; the levels of engagement she has had with State tourism bodies regarding same; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [24865/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Culture)

A cumulative allocation for Heritage of some €30.178 million has been provided in the 2019 Estimates provisions for my Department. In 2018 the equivalent expenditure figure was €26.287million  and in 2017, the figure was €29.75million. 

Through the National Parks and Wildlife Service, my Department manages some 87,000 ha across our national parks and nature reserve network.  These parks annually attract 4 million visitors and support a broad range of enterprise and employment opportunities for the communities in which they are situated.

In July 2018, as part of our strategic investment partnership with Fáilte Ireland, which is aimed at enhancing and promoting the tourism offering at Ireland’s national parks and conserving and protecting the natural environments of the parks for the enjoyment of future generations, my Department published a document entitled Experiencing the Wild heart of Ireland, which is a tourism interpretative master plan for the national parks and nature reserves. The plan sets out a framework that will guide the phased development of enhanced visitor experiences and improved visitor facilities at our national parks and nature reserves, taking into account our conservational objectives and based upon research into international best practice.

The plan recommends a suite of capital projects of varying size from smaller scale interventions, such as the installation of viewing platforms, to larger projects such as the development of new boardwalks and trails and the construction of new visitor centres. From these proposals, projects will be funded jointly by my Department and Fáilte Ireland through a multimillion euro investment package over the coming years.

The first such project is a €2.1 million investment in the Wild Nephin-Ballycroy National Park, which was announced on 31 August 2018. The aim of the project is to develop a continuous 53 km walking and cycling trail from Newport to Ballycastle on the Wild Atlantic Way through the national park.  The project will endeavour to provide more direct and safe routes on tracks through bogland, forests and challenging terrain.

The next project is a €1.9 million investment for developments in Connemara National Park, announced on 3rd  December 2018. Works to be carried out are based on elements contained in Outdoor Recreation Northern Ireland’s report Feasibility and Scoping Assessment Of Possible Links from Connemara National Park to Kylemore Abbey.  In brief, the funding will provide opportunities for improvement and enhancement of recreational trails, increased accessibility of trails and development of new trails.  This will dissipate the visitor load and improve the quality of the visitor experience.

Our historic buildings and structures are also a vital part of our heritage. While the primary responsibility to care for and maintain our built heritage structures rests with the owner, the built heritage investment scheme and the structures at risk fund invest essential capital in our built heritage and help the owners and custodians of historic structures to safeguard them into the future for the benefit and enjoyment of communities and the public. There are almost 50,000 protected structures around the country. Many of them are in great need of investment to ensure their preservation and continued use so that they remain a living part of our history and community life into the future. Last April, funding of some €3.3 million was allocated to 431 projects across every local authority area under the built heritage investment scheme and the structures at risk fund. These projects are well under way with funding due to be drawn down in the final quarter of the year. I am pleased to note the structures at risk fund will be revised and refreshed as the historic structures fund for 2019. This will offer improved supports to those who work hard in our communities to ensure our historic buildings remain alive and in use so that they are passed to future generations in better condition than we found them.

Turf Cutting Compensation Scheme Payments

Ceisteanna (685)

Pat Breen

Ceist:

685. Deputy Pat Breen asked the Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht the reason a person (details supplied) has not received further payments under the cessation of turf cutting compensation scheme. [24882/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Culture)

An application for compensation under the cessation of turf cutting compensation scheme was received by my Department from the individual referred to in the Deputy’s Question. With respect to 36 raised bog natural heritage area sites, the qualifying criteria for the scheme are that:

- The applicant must have had a legal interest (ownership or a turbary right (right to cut turf)) in one of these sites on 25 May 2010 and must have had the right to cut and remove turf from the property on that date;

- The applicant must have been cutting turf on the land in question during the relevant five year period up to 14 January 2014;

- The turf resource on the site has not been exhausted; and

- No turf cutting or associated activity is ongoing on the property.  

I am advised that the applicant, referred to in the Deputy’s Question, was informed in 2018 that he did not fulfil the qualifying criteria of the scheme. This applicant was provided with the opportunity to seek a Departmental review of this decision and did so. The decision was upheld and the applicant was advised that he could appeal this decision to the Peatlands Council.

My Department has been advised that, to date, no appeal has been received by the Peatlands Council.

Departmental Properties

Ceisteanna (686, 687)

Catherine Murphy

Ceist:

686. Deputy Catherine Murphy asked the Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht the amount of land purchased and leased by size and amount expended in the past five years to date; the location of same; the term of the lease and amount expended per year in cases in which land is leased; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [25381/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Catherine Murphy

Ceist:

687. Deputy Catherine Murphy asked the Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht the number of buildings and property purchased and leased and the amount expended in the past five years to date; the location of same; the term of the lease and the amount expended per year in cases in which properties are leased; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [25398/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Culture)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 686 and 687 together.

In general, matters relating to the acquisition and leasing of property for my Department are the responsibility of the Office of Public Works. However, I am advised that my Department has also leased a small number of properties over the period in question, the details of which are shown in the relevant tables below.

My Department owns significant lands across the country, including national parks , national monuments sites, nature reserves and other property acquired for purposes of heritage protection and conservation.

Details of Properties purchased by the National Monuments Service Unit of the Department in connection with the protection ,conservation and presentation of national monuments are set out in the following table.

Year

Details of Property

Cost

2014

Askeaton Gate Lodge, Co. Limerick

€20,000

2015

14-17 Moore Street, Dublin

€4,000,000

Details of purchases of land by the National Parks and Wildlife Service of my Department in connection with the management of National Parks and Reserves are set out in the following table.

Year

Details of Property

Cost

2016

4,900 acres at Glenasmole, Wicklow Mountains National Park, Co. Dublin 64 hectares at Srahduggan, Wild Nephin Ballycroy National Park, Co. Mayo

€800,000 €220,000

2017

4 acres at Burren Information Point, Corofin, Co. Galway

€175,000

2018

47 acreas at Bleanmore Island, Co. Mayo

€ 65,000

Details of smaller purchases of land by the Peatlands Management Unit, Site Protection Unit and Bog Relocation Unit of the National Parks and Wildlife Service under the Cessation of Turf Cutting Compensation Scheme, over the period in question are set out in the following table.

Year

Amount of Land purchased

Location (County)

Cost

2014

7 acres 2 acres 7 acres 29 acres 28 acres 6 acres

Longford Clare Offaly Galway Mayo Tipperary

€291,500

2015

3 acres 42 acres 23 acres 50 acres 15 acres 3 acres

Tipperary Offaly Meath Galway Westmeath Roscommon

€494,326

2016

11 acres 3 acres 65 acres 7 acres 11 acres 19 acres 18 acres

Leitrim Meath Roscommon Westmeath Mayo Galway Offaly

€353,223

2017

140 acres 11 acres 70 acres 15 acres 2 acres

Tipperary Galway Roscommon Mayo Leitrim

€719,739

2018

22 acres 52 acres 15 acres 41 acres

Offaly Galway Mayo Westmeath

€736,814

2019 (to date)

11 acres 11acres 4 acres 6 acres

Roscommon Westmeath Offaly Galway

€116,042

My Department has also entered into lease arrangements with Bord na Móna for relocation sites for turf cutters from designated bogs under the Cessation of Turf Cutting Compensation Scheme. The term of these leases is 65 years and the full cost of the lease will be paid over the first 7 years of the 65 year period. From 2014 to date the Department has spent €510,469 on these leases. The 2019 payment will be made later in the year. The cost of each lease is based upon the projected amount of hoppers of turf that will be extracted from each relocation site.

Year

Amount of Land Leased

Location (County)

2014

44 acres 83.5 acres

Offaly Galway

2015

44 acres 83.5 acres

Offaly Galway

2016

44 acres 103.7 acres 1.5 acres

Offaly Galway Westmeath

2017

44 acres 103.7 acres 1.5 acres

Offaly Galway Westmeath

2018

44 acres 103.7 acres 1.5 acres

Offaly Galway Westmeath

2019 to date

44 acres 103.7 acres 1.5 acres

Offaly Galway Westmeath

Properties Leased by the Department

2014

Details of Property

Term of Lease

Cost

Kerry LIFE Project Office , Shanacashel Community Centre

5 years

€ 1,499

Burren Life Project ,Office, Carron Parish Community Hall, Co. Clare

5 years

€ 8,717

2015

Details of Property

Term of Lease

Cost

Kerry LIFE Project Office , Shanacashel Community Centre

5 years

€ 4,995

Burren Life Project ,Office, Carron Parish Community Hall, Co. Clare

5 years

€ 9,812

2016

Details of Property

Term of Lease

Cost

Kerry LIFE Project Office , Shanacashel Community Centre

5 Years

€ 4,995

Burren Life Project ,Office, Carron Parish Community Hall, Co. Clare

5 Years

€14,161

LIFE Project Office, Mullingar, Co. Westmeath

5 Years

€10,325

2017

Details of Property

Term of Lease

Cost

Kerry LIFE Project Office , Shanacashel Community Centre

5 Years

€ 4,995

Burren Life Project ,Office, Carron Parish Community Hall, Co. Clare

5 Years

€ 8,717

LIFE Project Office, Mullingar, Co. Westmeath

5 Years

€12,167

An Coimisinéir Teanga,An Spidéal, Gaillimh

10 Years

€48,228

2018

Details of Property

Term of Lease

Cost

Kerry LIFE Project Office , Shanacashel Community Centre

5 Years

€ 4,995

Burren Life Project ,Office, Carron Parish Community Hall, Co. Clare

5 years

€ 8,717

LIFE Project Office, Mullingar, Co. Westmeath

5 Years

€12,167

An Coimisinéir Teanga,An Spidéal, Gaillimh,

10 Years

€48,019

2019

Details of Property

Term of Lease

Cost (to date)

Kerry LIFE Project Office , Shanacashel Community Centre

5 Years

€ 1,499

Burren Life Project ,Office, Carron Parish Community Hall, Co. Clare

5 Years

€ 0

LIFE Project Office, Mullingar, Co. Westmeath

5 Years

€6,083

An Coimisinéir Teanga,An Spidéal, Gaillimh,

10 Years

€24,009

For completeness, I wish to advise that my Department also uses part of a storage facility in Swords, Co. Dublin, leased by the OPW on behalf of the National Museum of Ireland. The annual cost to my Department is €140,000.