Carer's Allowance Applications

Ceisteanna (445)

Brendan Smith

Ceist:

445. Deputy Brendan Smith asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the measures she will introduce to reduce the delays in having applications for carer’s allowance processed and finalised; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [28868/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Employment)

Where any scheme area experiences delays, all possible steps are taken to improve processing times. This includes the assignment of additional resources, where available, and the review of business processes, to ensure the efficient processing of applications.

Additional resources will be applied to claim processing to reduce delays. A review of business processes is also underway and it is intended that this will identify opportunities to implement a number of improvements and efficiencies. The position is being closely monitored and kept under review by the Department to ensure that all CA applications are dealt with promptly.

My Department is committed to providing a quality service to all its customers. This includes ensuring that applications are processed as quickly as possible.

In general, social welfare schemes with a number of complex qualifying conditions can take longer to process. In some cases the documentary evidence provided at initial application stage is incomplete or insufficient and this can lead to delays in processing.

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

To qualify for CA, the carer must show that they are habitually resident in the State, that they are providing full-time care and attention to a person who requires this level of care and that their means are less than the statutory limit.

I hope this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.

Social Welfare Appeals

Ceisteanna (446)

Michael Healy-Rae

Ceist:

446. Deputy Michael Healy-Rae asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the status of an appeal by a person (details supplied); the timeframe for same; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [29009/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Employment)

The Social Welfare Appeals Office has advised me that an invalidity pension appeal by the person concerned was registered in that office on 24 June 2019. It is a statutory requirement of the appeals process that the relevant Departmental papers and comments by the Deciding Officer on the grounds of appeal be sought. When these papers have been received from the Department, the case in question will be referred to an Appeals Officer who will make a summary decision on the appeal based on the documentary evidence presented or, if required, hold an oral appeal hearing.

The Social Welfare Appeals Office functions independently of the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection and of the Department and is responsible for determining appeals against decisions in relation to social welfare entitlements.

I trust this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.

Personal Public Service Numbers

Ceisteanna (447)

Bernard Durkan

Ceist:

447. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection if arrangements can be made to update and verify the PPS number of a person (details supplied); and if she will make a statement on the matter. [29037/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Employment)

The person concerned was written to on 15th April 2019 and advised that he was required to present certain documents in order for his identity to be authenticated and for a PPS Number to be allocated.

To date, he has not yet provided the documentation required. Once this documentation has been supplied to my Department, this matter will be progressed in line with the Department's policies and procedures around identity authentication.

I hope this clarifies the position for the Deputy.

Social Welfare Overpayments

Ceisteanna (448)

Bernard Durkan

Ceist:

448. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the circumstances by which a person (details supplied) in Dublin 8 incurred a debt to her Department; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [29041/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Employment)

The person concerned incurred a debt as they were not fully unemployed for the period 13/07/2018 to 19/07/2018 and they received full payment of their Jobseeker's Allowance for same.

A decision letter from this Department was sent to them on the 20th November 2018 and set out the details of the debt incurred.

The original debt was €449. The remaining debt is €138.29.

I trust this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.

Carer's Allowance Applications

Ceisteanna (449)

Bernard Durkan

Ceist:

449. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection when a carer's allowance will be awarded in the case of a person (details supplied); and if she will make a statement on the matter. [29054/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Employment)

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

I confirm that my department received an application for CA from the person concerned on 29 April 2019. Additional information in relation to the person’s application was requested by a deciding officer on 30 May 2019.

A further information request in relation to the person’s employment details was sent to the person concerned on 27 June 2019.

Once the information is received the application will be processed without delay and the person concerned will be notified directly of the outcome.

I hope this clarifies the matter for the Deputy .

Supplementary Welfare Allowance Eligibility

Ceisteanna (450)

Bernard Durkan

Ceist:

450. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection if a person (details supplied) qualifies for a basic social welfare payment while awaiting a decision on an application for a carer’s benefit in respect of their parent; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [29055/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Employment)

A decision in respect of the application made by the person concerned for Supplementary Welfare Allowance Basic payment was finalised on the 07th June 2019. The Community Welfare Officer with responsibility for the area in which the person concerned resides advises that they made contact on 01/07/2019 and communicated the decision and the payment arrangements. Due to non collection from the designated Post Office any previous payments which have expired will be reissued to the person concerned.

I trust this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.

Property Tax

Ceisteanna (451)

Michael McGrath

Ceist:

451. Deputy Michael McGrath asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government his views on the recommendation from the Local Property Tax Review Group to remove the equalisation contribution from the LPT system; the possible alternative mechanisms by which local authorities can maintain funding levels; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [29029/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Housing)

The Government remains committed to ensuring that the local government sector retains a sustainable and stable source of funding from LPT to enable the delivery of essential services, particularly in a time of increasing demands on local authorities. Taxation policy, including local property tax policy, is in the first instance, a matter for my colleague, the Minister for Finance and Public Expenditure and Reform.

The current system of local retention of Local Property Tax (LPT) began in 2015 and since then 80% of the estimated LPT liability in each local authority area for a given year is retained in that area to fund public services, notwithstanding any local variation decisions. The remaining 20% of LPT is re-distributed to provide equalisation funding to those local authorities that have lower property tax bases.

The report on the Review of Local Property Tax recommended that the equalisation contribution from local authorities (equivalent to 20% of their LPT yield) be discontinued and that all local authorities retain 100% of LPT collected in the local authority area. In such a scenario, to ensure stability, sufficient funding would be required to ensure that local authorities with weaker property tax bases would continue to be supported. Any such change would require careful consideration in the context of the budgetary and estimates process.

In light of decisions taken by Government subsequent to the completion of the report on the Review of Local Property Tax, the Minister for Finance and Public Expenditure and Reform referred the Report to the Committee on Budgetary Oversight for further consideration. The deferral of revaluation until November 2020 provides time and space for the Committee to consider the report and to provide its views to the Minister for Finance and Public Expenditure and Reform.

Wind Energy Generation

Ceisteanna (452)

Bernard Durkan

Ceist:

452. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government the position in regard to the new proposed setback regulations for wind turbines; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [29059/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Housing)

My Department is currently undertaking a focused review of the 2006 Wind Energy Development Guidelines. The review is addressing a number of key aspects including sound or noise, visual amenity setback distances, shadow flicker, community obligation, community dividend and grid connections.

As part of the overall review, a strategic environmental assessment (SEA) is being undertaken on the revised Guidelines before they come into effect, in accordance with the requirements of EU Directive 2001/24/EC on the assessment of the effects of certain plans and programmes on the environment, otherwise known as the SEA Directive. SEA is a process by which environmental considerations are required to be fully integrated into the preparation of plans and programmes which act as frameworks for development consent, prior to their final adoption, with public consultation as part of that process.

While the revised draft guidelines had been expected to be published in Quarter 1 2019, some delays to the planned schedule arose, due to the recent publication of updated World Health Organisation (WHO) noise standards and the need to focus on certain Brexit-related planning issues.

As part of the SEA process, there will shortly be an 8-week public consultation on the revised draft Guidelines, together with the comprehensive environmental report. Finalised Guidelines will be prepared following detailed analysis and consideration of the submissions received during the consultation phase., and the conclusion of the SEA process.

When finalised, the revised Guidelines will be issued under section 28 of the Planning and Development Act 2000, as amended. Planning authorities and, where applicable, An Bord Pleanála must have regard to guidelines issued under Section 28 in the performance of their functions generally under the Planning Acts. In the meantime, the current 2006 Wind Energy Development Guidelines remain in force.

Fire Service

Ceisteanna (453)

Dara Calleary

Ceist:

453. Deputy Dara Calleary asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government the consequences of a case (details supplied) at the European Court of Justice for the operation of fire services in each area; if there are discussions or proposals to close fire stations in local authority areas either as a consequence of the judgement or in other circumstances; and his plans for the operation of fires services by local authority. [28610/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Housing)

The provision of a fire service in its functional area, including the establishment and maintenance of a fire brigade, the assessment of fire cover needs and the provision of premises and equipment for use by fire service personnel, is a matter for individual fire authorities under the Fire Services Acts 1981 and 2003. My Department through the National Directorate for Fire and Emergency Management, assists fire authorities on an on-going basis in meeting their statutory responsibilities.

Council Directive 93/104/EC of 23 November 1993, concerning certain aspects of the organisation of working time (the Working Time Directive), lays down minimum safety and health requirements for the organisation of working time, in respect of periods of daily rest, breaks, weekly rest, maximum weekly working time, annual leave and aspects of night work, shift work and patterns of work. Implementation of this Directive is transposed through the Organisation of Working Time Act 1997, which comes under the remit of my colleague, the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection.

I understand that the concepts of ‘working time’ and ‘rest periods’ as provided for in the Directive were the subject of a recent judgment by the Court of Justice of the European Union. The judgment of the Court was noted at my Department’s National Directorate for Fire and Emergency Management Board meeting of 13 September 2018. My Department is aware also of cases which have been lodged with the local authorities connected to this matter. As employers, local authorities are represented by the Local Government Management Agency (LGMA) and it is my understanding that a number of cases have been referred to the Workplace Relations Commission (WRC) in this context. The National Directorate in my Department will support the LGMA as appropriate in working towards a resolution of these WRC cases.

Water Services

Ceisteanna (454, 455)

Lisa Chambers

Ceist:

454. Deputy Lisa Chambers asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government when the decision for funding for the Multi-Annual Rural Water Programme 2019-2021 will be announced; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28611/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Lisa Chambers

Ceist:

455. Deputy Lisa Chambers asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government if the application by Cleragh, Kiltimagh, County Mayo for the Multi-Annual Rural Water Programme 2019-2021 will be awarded; if so, when; if not, the reason for refusal; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28612/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Housing)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 454 and 455 together.

On 8 February this year, I announced details of the measures being funded through my Department under the Multi-annual Rural Water Programme 2019-2021. Local authorities were invited to submit their bids for the funding of schemes or projects in their functional areas, with the deadline for receipt of proposals set as 14 March 2019.

Mayo County Council has included Clearagh, Kiltimagh, County Mayo in its application to my Department under Measure 6 - Community Connection Networks of the new Programme.

My Department is currently considering local authorities' bids for funding allocations. An Expert Panel has been put in place to support the evaluation process. In addition to providing an expert perspective, the Panel brings independence, openness and transparency to the bids evaluation process which is done on a national prioritised basis. The Expert Panel’s membership includes Departmental, stakeholder and independent representation.

The Expert Panel will make recommendations to my Department on the suitability of schemes and projects for funding based on objective criteria which are set out in the framework document issued to local authorities when requesting proposals. My Department will then consider the recommendations of the Panel, and based on these, will propose allocations for my consideration as Minister. I expect this process to be completed in the coming weeks.

Urban Renewal Schemes

Ceisteanna (456)

David Cullinane

Ceist:

456. Deputy David Cullinane asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government when he expects to allocate further funding under the urban regeneration and development fund; the amount he plans to allocate to progress the North Quays development in County Waterford; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28642/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Housing)

In 2016, the North Quays in Waterford was the subject of a Strategic Development Zone (SDZ) order made by the Government, recognising the social and economic importance of the site to the State, and designating the Waterford North Quays for mixed-use development, subject to preparation of an SDZ planning scheme, which has since been completed.

The National Planning Framework (NPF), launched in February 2018 as part of Project Ireland 2040, includes objectives to achieve more compact urban growth within Ireland’s cities, including the significant further development of Waterford City. Further to the NPF, a ten-year Urban Regeneration and Development Fund (URDF) was established with investment of €2bn available to 2027.

In 2018, bids were invited from public bodies for funding support from the URDF. On 26 November 2018, I announced initial support of €100m in provisional allocations to a total of 88 projects throughout the country under the first call for proposals. As part of this first tranche of approvals, the Waterford North Quays Project was allocated initial URDF support of €6m.

A large and complex integrated urban project, the Waterford North Quays proposal includes very significant high cost capital elements. Under the first URDF call for proposals, the Council submitted a bid for URDF funding which included four very significant elements:

1. Relocation of the City’s railway station to the east to form a new public transport interchange;

2. A new pedestrian/cyclist/public transport bridge and associated urban greenway;

3. Site access roads and road realignment;

4. Off-site roads in the wider north bank of the Suir area in Waterford/Kilkenny.

It is intended that the infrastructural works involved will open up the North Quays site, making it more accessible and supporting the achievement of the objectives of the SDZ planning scheme more generally.

The overall project is one of the more complex URDF proposals and so it is essential that careful consideration be given to the proper advancement of its design, planning, procurement and construction.

This initial URDF support to Waterford, as with all other successful bid proposals, is approved in principle and is subject to a finalised agreement between my Department and Waterford City & County Council. It is a starting point in a programme of ongoing support for a significant city centre urban renewal project.

In this regard, my Department is continuing to engage with Waterford City & County Council on the advancement of the overall project in order to agree project composition and sequencing, and to establish project cost certainty to inform URDF funding support and allocations.

Departmental Offices

Ceisteanna (457)

John Lahart

Ceist:

457. Deputy John Lahart asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government the availability of bike parking spaces and lockers in all buildings used by his Department; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28699/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Housing)

My Department is the main tenant in the following offices -

- Custom House, Dublin 1

- Government Buildings, Ballina

- Newtown Road, Wexford

- Met Eireann, Glasnevin, Dublin

It also shares accommodation at 1A South Mall, Cork and Little Island, Cork and Met Éireann have offices at various locations around the country, including at the main airports.

The availability of bicycle parking spaces and lockers is set out in the table, including those available at buildings occupied by Met Éireann.

Building/Location

Bike Parking Spaces

Lockers

Custom House

81

117

Ballina

10

20

Wexford

30

56

Cork

1A South Mall

0

0

Little Island

0

0

Met Eireann

- Glasnevin

24

30

- Dublin Airport

0

13

- Malin Head

0

12

- Casement

0

6

- Valentia

0

6

- Ireland West Airport

0

6

- Shannon Airport

0

30

- Cork Airport

0

18

- Belmullet

0

5

Ministerial Transport

Ceisteanna (458)

John Lahart

Ceist:

458. Deputy John Lahart asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government the model of the car or cars used by him in the performance of his official duties; and if it is a diesel, petrol or electric engine. [28715/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Housing)

I use a Skoda Octavia with a diesel engine in the performance of my official duties.

Home Loan Scheme

Ceisteanna (459)

Willie Penrose

Ceist:

459. Deputy Willie Penrose asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government if a person who has been adjudicated a bankrupt and who will be out of bankruptcy at the end of 2019, but who remains working and is in rented accommodation, will be eligible to apply for the Rebuilding Ireland home loan with their partner who is not a bankrupt; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28786/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Housing)

The Rebuilding Ireland Home Loan Scheme enables credit-worthy first-time buyers to access sustainable mortgage lending to purchase new or second-hand properties in a suitable price range, where they cannot obtain sufficient mortgage finance from a commercial lender. Applicants must be in continuous employment for a minimum of two years, as the primary earner or be in continuous employment for a minimum of one year, as a secondary earner.

As with the previous local authority loan offerings, the Rebuilding Ireland Home Loan is available to first-time buyers only. This is set out in the regulations governing the Scheme and ensures the effective targeting of limited resources.

A person who has been discharged from bankruptcy and is eligible in all other respects, including being a first-time buyer, for a Rebuilding Ireland Home Loan may apply for a loan and will be subject to the same credit assessment process that applies to all applicants, which is carried out in accordance with the credit policy for the scheme.

The final decision on loan approval is a matter for the relevant local authority and its credit committee on a case-by-case basis. Decisions on all housing loan applications must be made in accordance with the Regulations establishing the scheme and the credit policy that underpins the scheme, in order to ensure prudence and consistency in approaches in the best interests of both borrowers and the lending local authorities.

Housing Adaptation Grant

Ceisteanna (460)

Jan O'Sullivan

Ceist:

460. Deputy Jan O'Sullivan asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government the amount allocated in 2019 to local authorities for the housing adaptation grant for persons with a disability, housing aid for older persons and mobility aids grants for council owned properties; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28830/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Housing)

I recently announced the 2019 funding allocations to local authorities for the Disabled Persons Grants (DPG) Scheme for adaptations and extensions to existing social homes 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. Some €15 million is being made available under the scheme in 2019, an increase of over €1 million on 2018 levels. On top of this exchequer funding, the local authority makes a further 10% contribution in respect of these grants.

Details of the 2019 allocations to each local authority are outlined in the table. It is a matter for local authorities to prioritise the works to be funded under the scheme in their area, 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.

Table: DPG Funding Allocations 2019

Local Authority

Department Contribution 90%

Local Authority Contribution 10%

Total (Department & LA Contribution)

Carlow County Council

€205,000

€22,778

€227,778

Cavan County Council

€230,000

€25,556

€255,556

Clare County Council

€350,000

€38,889

€388,889

Cork City Council

€2,000,000

€222,222

€2,222,222

Cork County Council

€1,000,000

€111,111

€1,111,111

Donegal County Council

€400,000

€44,444

€444,444

Dublin City Council

€2,375,000

€263,889

€2,638,889

Dun Laoghaire/Rathdown County Council

€255,000

€28,333

€283,333

Fingal County Council

€625,000

€69,444

€694,444

Galway City Council

€450,000

€50,000

€500,000

Galway County Council

€350,000

€38,889

€388,889

Kerry County Council

€300,000

€33,333

€333,333

Kildare County Council

€450,000

€50,000

€500,000

Kilkenny County Council

€225,000

€25,000

€250,000

Laois County Council

€220,000

€24,444

€244,444

Leitrim County Council

€175,000

€19,444

€194,444

Limerick City and County Council

€1,275,000

€141,667

€1,416,667

Longford County Council

€200,000

€22,222

€222,222

Louth County Council

€260,000

€28,889

€288,889

Mayo County Council

€150,000

€16,667

€166,667

Meath County Council

€245,000

€27,222

€272,222

Monaghan County Council

€200,000

€22,222

€222,222

Offaly County Council

€205,000

€22,778

€227,778

Roscommon County Council

€205,000

€22,778

€227,778

Sligo County Council

€325,000

€36,111

€361,111

South Dublin County Council

€500,000

€55,556

€555,556

Tipperary County Council

€500,000

€55,556

€555,556

Waterford City and County Council

€210,000

€23,333

€233,333

Westmeath County Council

€225,000

€25,000

€250,000

Wexford County Council

€515,000

€57,222

€572,222

Wicklow County Council

€450,000

€50,000

€500,000

Total

€15,075,000

€1,675,000

€16,750,000

Expert Panel on Concrete Blocks

Ceisteanna (461, 462)

Pearse Doherty

Ceist:

461. Deputy Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government the amount he plans to allocate in Budget 2020 for the MICA and pyrite repair scheme announced recently. [28845/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Pearse Doherty

Ceist:

462. Deputy Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government the progress on delivering the MICA and pyrite repair scheme announced recently. [28846/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Housing)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 461 and 462 together.

The Expert Panel on Concrete Blocks was established by my Department in 2016, to investigate problems that have emerged in the concrete blockwork of certain dwellings in counties Donegal and Mayo.

In 2017, the report of the Expert Panel was published and included eight recommendations, which my Department is actively progressing with the relevant stakeholders, prioritising the implementation of Recommendations 1 and 2.

With regard to Recommendation 1, the National Standards Authority of Ireland (NSAI) established a Technical Committee to scope and fast track the development of a standardised protocol. The standardised protocol will inform the course of action in relation to remedial works for all affected householders. The standardised protocol was published by the NSAI on 13 November 2018 and ‘I.S. 465:2018 - Assessment, testing and categorisation of damaged buildings incorporating concrete blocks containing certain deleterious materials’ , is available at www.nsai.ie.

The standard can be used to assess and categorise the damage in properties where the concrete blocks are suspected to contain the minerals mica or pyrite. Previously, there was no common way for engineers or homeowners to assess the damage caused by defective concrete blocks, in order to decide what, if any, remedial work could be carried out. The standard:

1. establishes a protocol for assessing and determining whether a building has been damaged by concrete blocks containing certain excessive amounts of deleterious materials (free or unbound muscovite mica, or aggregate with potentially deleterious quantities of pyrite);

2. describes methods for establishing the extent of the problem;

3. describes the scope of any testing required; and

4. categorises buildings, in accordance with the standard, providing competent persons with guidance on the appropriate measures to be taken.

With regard to Recommendation 2, my Department has been in contact with Engineers Ireland in relation to the establishment of a register of competent engineers for homeowners/affected parties’ reference. In June 2019, Engineers Ireland established such a register, which is available at www.engineersireland.ie/Services/I-S-465-2018-Register.aspx.

The register lists Chartered Engineers, who have the necessary direct professional experience, competence and specialist training in accordance with the requirements set out in ' I.S. 465:2018 - Assessment, testing and categorisation of damaged buildings incorporating concrete blocks containing certain deleterious materials’.

In October 2018, the Government approved in principle the development of a grant scheme of financial assistance to support affected homeowners in the counties of Donegal and Mayo to carry out the necessary remediation works to dwellings that have been damaged due to defective concrete blocks.

In May 2019, agreement was reached with the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform to allocate €20 million to a scheme for this purpose from within the €2.4 billion housing budget for 2019. Funding for future years will be agreed on an annual basis as part of the normal Estimates process.

The full terms and conditions of the scheme are being finalised, again in consultation with the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform. This process will take account of the engagement that my Department is currently having with both Donegal and Mayo County Councils. In this regard, officials from my Department met recently with both local authority teams to discuss implementation arrangements for the scheme and further engagement will take place over the coming weeks.

On completion of this work, it is intended to revert to Government on the matter. The aim will be to complete the outstanding work without delay in order to ensure that the scheme can get underway as early as possible.

Social and Affordable Housing Eligibility

Ceisteanna (463)

Brendan Smith

Ceist:

463. Deputy Brendan Smith asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government when he plans to publish the promised review of income eligibility limits for social housing; if his attention has been drawn to the fact that the perceived totally inadequate income limits in areas such as counties Cavan and Monaghan are depriving persons on low income to apply for local authority housing; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28867/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Housing)

Applications for social housing support are assessed by the relevant local authority, in accordance with the eligibility and need criteria set down in section 20 of the Housing (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 2009 and the associated Social Housing Assessment Regulations 2011, as amended.

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

Under the Household Means Policy, which applies in all local authorities, net income for social housing assessment is defined as gross household income less income tax, PRSI and the universal social charge. The Policy provides for a range of income disregards, and local authorities also have discretion to decide to disregard income that is temporary, short-term or once off in nature.

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

Given the cost to the State of providing social housing, it is considered prudent and fair to direct resources to those most in need of social housing support. The current income eligibility requirements generally achieve this, providing for a fair and equitable system of identifying those households facing the greatest challenge in meeting their accommodation needs from their own resources.

However, as part of the broader social housing reform agenda, a review of income eligibility for social housing supports in each local authority area is under way. The review will also have regard to current initiatives being brought forward in terms of affordability and cost rental and will be completed when the impacts of these parallel initiatives have been considered.

Social and Affordable Housing Data

Ceisteanna (464)

Tony McLoughlin

Ceist:

464. Deputy Tony McLoughlin asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government the number and status of social housing projects in County Sligo as part of the Rebuilding Ireland programme; the number of social homes delivered in the county since the beginning of the plan; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28869/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Housing)

Data in relation to social housing delivery across all local authorities, for the period 2016 to end March 2019, are published on my Department's website at the following link: https://www.housing.gov.ie/housing/social-housing/social-and-affordble/overall-social-housing-provision.

My Department also publishes status reports on a quarterly basis, of all social housing construction schemes for all local authority areas. The most recent of these reports covers the period up to the end of March 2019, and contains information on the progress of over 20,300 new social housing homes, which are currently approved and progressing through planning, design and construction, as well as homes delivered to end March 2019.

The report shows that Sligo County Council, and the Approved Housing Bodies they are working with, have 13 social housing construction projects in construction, at planning, design or tender stage, or complete under Rebuilding Ireland, which are delivering 173 newly built social homes. The report is available on the Rebuilding Ireland website at the following link: http://rebuildingireland.ie/news/minister-murphy-publishes-social-housing-construction-status-report-for-q1-2019/.

National social housing delivery targets have been set under Rebuilding Ireland for the period to 2021. The 2019 build targets along with 2018-2021 overall social housing targets on a local authority basis, across all delivery streams under Rebuilding Ireland, are available on the Rebuilding Ireland website at the following link: http://rebuildingireland.ie/news/social-housing-targets-2019/.