Question No. 2867 answered with Question No. 2864.

Energy Schemes Data

Ceisteanna (2868, 2869)

Aengus Ó Snodaigh

Ceist:

2868. Deputy Aengus Ó Snodaigh asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government the number of retrofitting grant applications made from Dublin 8, 10 and 12; the number approved and rejected, respectively; the number taken up; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [32081/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Aengus Ó Snodaigh

Ceist:

2869. Deputy Aengus Ó Snodaigh asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government the number of the public housing stock retrofitted, both deep and shallow, provided in Dublin 8, 10 and 12, respectively; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [32082/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Housing)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 2868 and 2869 together.

The Energy Efficiency Programme, introduced in 2013, is designed to improve the insulation standards and overall energy performance of local authority housing stock. The programme is implemented in two phases: Phase 1 which aims to ensure that the entire social housing stock would have, as a minimum, cavity wall and attic insulation and Phase 2, which focuses on the fabric upgrade works to those dwellings with solid/hollow block wall construction and includes the provision of heating upgrades.

Under the programme, each local authority receives an annual funding allocation and it is their responsibility to deal with the selection of properties for inclusion in the programme. Accordingly, as my Department has no involvement in this process, it does not have records of the number of homes retrofitted in specific locations within individual local authority areas.

Home Loan Scheme

Ceisteanna (2870, 2871, 2872)

Jack Chambers

Ceist:

2870. Deputy Jack Chambers asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government the policy underpinning mortgage protection insurance for Rebuilding Ireland home loan applicants; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [32133/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Jack Chambers

Ceist:

2871. Deputy Jack Chambers asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government if there has been a competitive tender for mortgage protection insurance for Rebuilding Ireland home loan applicants; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [32134/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Jack Chambers

Ceist:

2872. Deputy Jack Chambers asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government if mortgage applicants as part of the Rebuilding Ireland home loan scheme can source their own mortgage protection insurance if it meets the same terms and conditions as required by the terms of the loan; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [32135/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Housing)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 2870 to 2872, inclusive, together.

The local authority mortgage protection insurance (MPI) scheme is overseen by the Mortgage Protection Committee which is a sub-committee of the County and City Management Association (CCMA) and includes representation from the CCMA, local authorities, the Housing Finance Agency and my Department. The local authority MPI scheme has applied to all house purchase loans approved by local authorities after 1 July 1986, including the Rebuilding Ireland Home Loan introduced on 1 February 2018.

The Consumer Credit Act 1995 applied conditions on lenders which applied to local authorities as well as commercial lenders. Under section 126 of the Act, the lender is legally required to ensure that a prospective borrower has mortgage protection insurance in place before drawing down a mortgage. Where a lender offers a particular policy, sub-section 2(d) of section 126 of the Act provides that the borrower can source an alternative policy to suit their needs. However, sub-section 2(d) does not apply to local authorities.

One of the conditions of the MPI scheme, which is a group policy, is that it is obligatory for all local authority borrowers who meet the eligibility criteria to join the scheme. Altering this condition would have a negative impact on the scheme and increase the cost for all existing borrowers. A local authority housing loan applicant who is not eligible for the local authority MPI scheme must source a suitable comparable individual MPI policy from the market.

The scheme is subject to periodic review and competitive tendering in accordance with the terms of EU Directives relating to the award of public service contracts. This is to ensure that the most appropriate cover at the best value for money is secured for local authority borrowers over the entire life of their mortgages.

The most recent public procurement competition for the provision and administration of this MPI scheme was conducted by the Office of Government Procurement. The contract resulting from this open tender competition came into effect from 1 January 2017 and is due to expire on 31 December 2020.

Local Authority Boundaries Review

Ceisteanna (2873)

Jan O'Sullivan

Ceist:

2873. Deputy Jan O'Sullivan asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government when an implementation group will be formed by Louth and Meath county councils jointly to implement the findings of the recent Drogheda boundary review; if he has received confirmation from the councils on the person or body that will sit on the implementation group; when its first formal meeting will take place; if he has been advised by the local authorities as to when the process to develop a joint local area plan for the development and management of the southern environs of south Drogheda in County Meath will commence; if he has insisted on a timeline for the completion of such a plan; when the proposed retail plan contained in the Drogheda boundary review recommendations will be started and completed; his views on the delays in implementing the recommendations of the review; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [32233/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Housing)

The strategic importance of Drogheda, both as a major urban area in its own right and as part of the Dublin-Belfast Corridor/Drogheda-Dundalk-Newry network, is recognised in the National Planning Framework and more recently in the Regional Spatial & Economic Strategy (RSES) for the Eastern and Midlands Region.

Given the cross-boundary element to Drogheda, straddling the Louth/Meath border, the 2017 Drogheda Boundary Review Committee report recommended the implementation of a new programme of structured cooperation between Louth and Meath County Councils to develop an innovative governance system for the town, involving a range of measures including:

- A joint Local Area Plan for the greater Drogheda area;

- A joint retail strategy for the town;

- A review of service delivery of all LA services and functions;

- An analysis of the services delivered by other bodies, including any recommendations for delivery on a “whole of town” basis.

The Eastern and Midlands Region RSES reinforces the recommendations for cross-boundary co-operation through a Joint Urban Area Plan (UAP) to be prepared by Louth and Meath County Councils. The RSES also envisages an enhanced role for Drogheda as a strategic employment centre on the Dublin-Belfast Economic Corridor through identification of suitable sites for new industry.

My Department recently wrote to Louth and Meath County Councils regarding the implementation of the recommendations of the Drogheda Boundary Review. In its response, Louth County Council outlined the significant cooperation underway and planned, now that the RSES has been largely finalised and attention can turn to county development and local area planning.

In terms of resources, the Council highlighted that an implementation team comprising the senior management teams of both counties has been established. This team, which is jointly chaired by the two chief executives, meets regularly to monitor progress. Two cross-county teams on Strategy and Operations have also been put in place.

Following on from the correspondence, my Department has been in contact with Louth County Council regarding the administrative support in place to drive the implementation of the NPF/RSES and the Boundary Review Report and to support the Drogheda Municipal District. The Council is considering this further, in consultation with my Department.

Consultancy Contracts Data

Ceisteanna (2874)

Shane Cassells

Ceist:

2874. Deputy Shane Cassells asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government the number of external consultant reports commissioned by his Department in each of the years March 2011 to 2018 and to date in 2019; the cost of same; the company involved; and the title and publication date by report in tabular form. [32251/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Housing)

The information requested is available at the following link:

Review/Report/Study

Departmental Expenditure

Ceisteanna (2875)

Shane Cassells

Ceist:

2875. Deputy Shane Cassells asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government the photography costs for his Department in each year since March 2011, including costs incurred from use of the Ministerial allowance; the occasions for which photographers were booked; the photographers used; the costs associated with each occasion that a photographer was used in tabular form; if there is a policy regarding the booking of photographers within his Department; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [32268/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Housing)

The information requested by the Deputy has previously been provided in response to Questions Nos 740 of 14 December 2017 and 2725 of 24 July 2018.

The details of expenditure since 24 July 2018 are set out in the following table. My Department's policy remains that the Department's Press Office generally provides photographic services when required. However, on occasions a service provider is selected from the OGP panel in line with the procurement framework. No photography costs have been incurred from the Ministerial allowance available to me.

Cost

Occasion

Photographer

Cost

Occasion

Photographer

€602.70

Library of images for use in publications

Naoise Culhane Photography Ltd

€639.60

Launch of Social Housing

Maxwell Photography Ltd

€485.85

120th Anniversary of Local Elections

Naoise Culhane Photography Ltd

€100.00

Marine Spatial Planning Baseline Report

Tomasz Szumski Photography

€2744.96

Fire Service Long Service Awards

Maxwell Photography Ltd

€275.00

Ocean Wise INTERREG Project stakeholders workshop

Simon Peare Photography

Legal Costs

Ceisteanna (2876)

Shane Cassells

Ceist:

2876. Deputy Shane Cassells asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government the expenditure incurred in respect of external legal fees in each year since March 2011, in tabular form; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [32285/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Housing)

My Department seeks, where possible, to minimise legal costs and avails of the services of the Chief State Solicitor's office, the Attorney General's Office and the State Claims Agency in terms of the provision of legal advice and representation of the Department in Court cases.

The following table sets out details in relation to external legal services provided directly to my Department by legal firms from 2011 to date in 2019. The table does not include costs associated with the Planning Tribunal.

Company name

Details of legal fees/services

2019

2018

2017

2016

2015

2014

2013

2012

2011

Total (€)

Total (€)

Total (€)

Total (€)

Total (€)

Total (€)

Total (€)

Total (€)

Total (€)

A&L Goodbody

Legal advice on weather services

10,374

A&L Goodbody

Legal advice on Water Abstraction

23,985

23,985

Arthur Cox

Drafting of Foreshore licences and leases

88,402

Arthur Cox

Legal Advice on Foreshore Consent Issues

37,904

113,110

33,070

20,767

39,010

81,415

55,180

Arthur Cox

Legal Advice - Pyrite Panel

6,127

Arthur Cox

Professional Fees Aug-Dec 2018 in relation to Land Development Agency

171,146

Arthur Cox

Professional Fees Jan-June 2019 in relation to Land Development Agency

102,716

Eamon Galligan

Legal Advice -proposed amendment to section 261A of the Planning and Development Act 2000

2,433

1,353

Eversheds Sutherland

Legal advice - PPP Bundles (procurement/tenders)

48,922

167,200

22,407

Geoffrey Fox

Drafting of EU (Planning and Development) (Environmental Impact Assessment Regulations) 2018

43,050

Margaret Gray BL

Drafting of regulations to comply with EU Directive 2003/35/EC

7,622

Mason Hayes & Curran

Provision of Employment Law Advice

566

Matheson Ormsby Prentice

Review of terms and conditions of Waste Resources Market Development Programme

312

McCann Fitzgerald

Professional services relating to 2015 supplier dispute

2,568

McDowell Purcell Solicitors

Legal Advice – Dublin Docklands Development Authority

6,467

6,654

McKeever Solicitors

Witnessing signature of an affidavit

10

Patrick Butler SC

Independent non-statutory review of files held by the Department

8,610

Rochford Brady Group

Legal Search

23

TOTAL

€164,605

€387,406

€224,265

€22,407

€20,767

€42,032

€87,882

€69,314

€106,710

Departmental Expenditure

Ceisteanna (2877)

Shane Cassells

Ceist:

2877. Deputy Shane Cassells asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government the expenditure incurred in external information technology costs in each year since March 2011, in tabular form; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [32302/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Housing)

The information requested is currently being compiled and will be provided to the Deputy in accordance with standing orders.

Housing Estates

Ceisteanna (2878)

Mary Butler

Ceist:

2878. Deputy Mary Butler asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government the funding and grants available to assist in the ongoing maintenance of small long established housing developments of 30 to 50 homes (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [32340/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Housing)

The ongoing maintenance of private housing developments is a matter for the owners of the properties in question. A private management company, which must comprise the owners of all of the properties in a development, is required where there are common areas, structural elements and services and/or any grounds, open spaces, car parking or roadways that are not generally accessible to members of the public (i.e. non-residents or visitors). This applies to apartment buildings, housing developments that include ‘multi-unit’ housing types such as apartments or duplexes and to gated housing schemes, holiday homes and retirement villages.

Legislation governing the management of multi-unit developments is addressed by the Multi-Unit Developments Act 2011, which is the responsibility of my colleague, the Minister for Justice and Equality. This Act regulates the ownership and management of common areas of multi-unit developments, and provides for the establishment of owners’ management companies to manage and maintain such areas.

The Act defines common areas as including:

- The external walls, foundations and roofs and internal load-bearing walls;

- The entrance halls, landings, lifts, lift shafts, staircases and passages;

- The access roads, footpaths, kerbs, paved, planted and landscaped areas, and boundary walls;

- Architectural and water features;

- All ducts and conduits, other than those within and serving only one unit in the development;

- Cisterns, tanks, sewers, drains, pipes, wires, central heating boilers, other than such items within and serving only one unit in the development;

- Other areas that are from time-to-time provided for common use.

While the ongoing maintenance of individual private houses in non-multi unit housing developments remains a matter for the owners of the individual properties, external common areas such as open spaces, car parking or roadways that are accessible to members of the public (i.e. non-residents or visitors), may be ‘taken in charge’ and maintained thereafter by the relevant local authority.

This is addressed by the Planning and Development Act 2000 (as amended), whereby residential developments consisting of two or more dwellings that have been granted planning permission under Section 34 the 2000 Act (as amended), may be eligible for taking in charge, subject to the type of development and its satisfactory completion.

The taking in charge of residential estates by local authorities is governed by Section 180 of the 2000 Act and is a reserved function of local elected members of that authority. In certain situations, it is possible for the local authority to hold a plebiscite to ascertain the wishes of the homeowners in a development.

Home Loan Scheme

Ceisteanna (2879)

Fiona O'Loughlin

Ceist:

2879. Deputy Fiona O'Loughlin asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government when further funding will be allocated for applications to the Rebuilding Ireland home loan scheme; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [32350/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Housing)

When the Rebuilding Ireland Home Loan (RIHL) scheme was initially being developed, it was estimated that the drawdown of loans would be approximately €200 million over three years. The RIHL has proven to be more successful than initially anticipated, with some €140 million drawn down to the end of March 2019. The first tranche of funding has not been exhausted.

My officials have been engaging with the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform since October 2018 when higher lending and drawdown volumes were beginning to materialise. I informed the Dáil on 29 January 2019 of the scheme’s success and of the need for additional funding and indicated that my Department was in discussions with the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform and the Department of Finance with regard to the allocation for 2019.

At all times, the scheme remained open and all local authorities were advised to continue to receive and process applications up to and including the issuing of loans.

My Department has consulted in detail with each Local Authority as to the anticipated demand in its area, and the likely level of approvals expected. This information has been submitted to the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform with request for sanction for additional borrowing by the Housing Finance Agency. The HFA have an ongoing borrowing facility for when sanction is given so that they are in a position to proceed to borrow this second tranche of funding immediately.

The first tranche of funding has not been exhausted, the Rebuilding Ireland Home Loan remains open to new applicants, and all local authorities are to continue to receive and process applications and issue loans.

Home Loan Scheme

Ceisteanna (2880)

Robert Troy

Ceist:

2880. Deputy Robert Troy asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government the supports in place under the Rebuilding Ireland home loan scheme to help persons that have experienced a marital breakdown to purchase a home in view of the fact that they are not first-time buyers. [32368/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Housing)

Applicants who are separated or divorced may be treated as first-time buyers, in accordance with the regulations, if they meet certain conditions, including:

- they are separated or divorced under a court order or by a separation agreement;

- the property being purchased is the first property since leaving the family home;

- they have left the family home and retain no interest in it; or

- the other party has remained in the family home.

In meeting the conditions as set out above, in particular that the other party has remained in the family home and that the potential applicant has relinquished any rights they had over that property, no financial gain should have been made by the potential applicant in exchange for relinquishing their rights to the property in this manner. Were the individual to have made a financial gain in releasing their rights to the property, such as being bought out by the other party who remains resident in it, they would be deemed to have been compensated for their interest in the property, and therefore not be eligible as a first-time buyer.

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.

Local Authority Housing Eligibility

Ceisteanna (2881)

Maurice Quinlivan

Ceist:

2881. Deputy Maurice Quinlivan asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government the local authorities that consider carer’s allowance to be part of the income when calculating rent for a local authority property; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [32390/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Housing)

The right of local authorities to set and collect rents in respect of their dwellings is laid down in section 58 of the Housing Act 1966. The making or amending of a rent scheme is an executive function and is subject to broad principles set out by my Department including that –

- the rent payable should be related to income and a smaller proportion of income should be required from low income households;

- provision should be included for the acceptance of a lower rent than that required under the terms of the scheme in exceptional cases where payment of the normal rent would give rise to hardship;

- appropriate local factors should be taken into account including the costs of the maintenance and management of the stock of rented dwellings and the adequacy of the rental income to meet such costs.

Since 1986, when rent setting was devolved to individual local authorities, different approaches have been taken to rent charging and setting across the country. While local authorities generally follow the Household Means Policy (which applies for assessment of eligibility for social housing), there is variation in the extent to which they apply the income disregards set out in that policy in their Differential Rent Schemes and differing approaches are taken to income sources such as the Working Family Payment or the Carer's Allowance.

My Department does not hold data on the exact approaches taken by individual local authorities as the methodology for calculating rents is a matter for individual housing authorities in the first instance.

Considerable work has been carried out by my Department in developing a draft national differential rents framework for the purposes of section 31 of the Housing (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 2009. Such a framework has as its main aim the harmonisation of local authority rents, including a set of standardised income disregards, whilst retaining the general principle of rents related to household income.

This work is now being examined further in the light of the broader commitment given in the Rebuilding Ireland Action Plan for Housing and Homelessness, to review the disparate systems of differential rent for social housing in place across local authorities. The overall objective is to ensure that housing supports are fair and sustainable and prioritise those on lowest incomes. I expect that the review will be completed in the near future.

Protected Disclosures Data

Ceisteanna (2882)

Catherine Murphy

Ceist:

2882. Deputy Catherine Murphy asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government the number of protected disclosures for which he has engaged an external consultancy and-or legal firm since 2014 to date; the name of the firms engaged; the year and the costs associated with engaging the consultancy and-or legal firms in respect of protected disclosures; the way in which persons are protected in cases in which an external consultancy firm is engaged in respect of protected disclosures; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [32402/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Housing)

My Department has not engaged a consultancy or legal firm to assist with any protected disclosures that have been received since 2014.

My Department has recently put in place a contract with RSM Ireland to carry out investigations under the Protected Disclosures Act 2014, where such assistance is required. To date, there has been no engagement under that contract.

Repair and Leasing Scheme

Ceisteanna (2883, 2970, 2977, 2993)

John Brady

Ceist:

2883. Deputy John Brady asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government the number of homes brought into use via the repair and lease scheme in each local authority in 2018 and to date in 2019. [32596/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

John Curran

Ceist:

2970. Deputy John Curran asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government the progress made in securing properties under the repair and leasing scheme in each local authority; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [34416/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

John Brady

Ceist:

2977. Deputy John Brady asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government the number of homes brought into use in 2018 and to date in 2019, via the repair and lease scheme in County Wicklow and by LEA or municipal district; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [34497/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin

Ceist:

2993. Deputy Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government the number of homes brought into use in 2018 and to date 2019 via the repair and lease scheme in south central areas of Dublin; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [34589/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Housing)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 2883, 2970, 2977 and 2993 together.

The Repair and Leasing Scheme (RLS) was developed to assist private property owners and local authorities or Approved Housing Bodies (AHBs) to harness the accommodation potential that exists in certain vacant dwellings across Ireland.

The RLS is targeted at owners of vacant dwellings, who cannot afford or access the funding needed to bring their dwellings up to the required standard for rental property. Subject to the suitability of the dwelling for social housing, and the agreement of the property owner, the cost of the necessary repairs will be met upfront by the local authority or an approved housing body (AHB).

In early 2018, I introduced a number of enhancements to the scheme. These key changes to the scheme includes:

- A reduction in the minimum lease term required from 10 to 5 years;

- Extension of the scheme to allow payment of 92% of market rent (rather than 80% or 85%) to property owners who wish to take on landlord responsibilities;

- The allocation of additional funding, in excess of the €40,000 limit and up to €50,000, where the property is a former bedsit being brought into compliance with the Standards for Rented Houses

- The application of the scheme to unfinished properties in certain circumstances; and

- Permitting the maximum of €40,000 for capital works per property to be spread across multiple properties.

A total of €38m has been made available for the scheme in 2019 and local authorities and AHBs are continuing to implement the scheme locally.

Provisional data for the Repair and Leasing Scheme (RLS) indicate that up to end Q1 2019, a total of 1,399 applications for the scheme had been received; 102 homes had been brought back into use and tenanted and 147 agreements to lease had been signed. Delivery under RLS is reported as part of overall Social Housing Leasing output and these figures are available on my Department’s website at the following link (a detailed breakdown for RLS will be published shortly):

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

A breakdown of the dwellings delivered under the scheme to end Q1 2019, by year and local authority, is set out in the following table. Data in relation to specific locations/areas within individual local authority areas are not held in my Department.

RLS Delivery 2017 to Q1 2019

Local Authority

Dwellings Delivered - 2017

Dwellings Delivered - 2018

Dwellings Delivered - Q1 2019

Carlow County Council

0

2

0

Cork County Council

0

0

1

Dublin City Council

0

1

0

Dun Laoghaire Rathdown County Council

1

0

0

Fingal County Council

0

7

9

Kilkenny County Council

0

1

0

Limerick City & County Council

0

8

2

Longford County Council

0

6

0

Meath County Council

0

1

0

Monaghan County Council

0

4

0

Roscommon County Council

0

2

0

Tipperary County Council

0

1

0

Waterford City & County Council

6

35

1

Westmeath County Council

0

1

0

Wexford County Council

2

11

0

Total

9

80

13

Housing Data

Ceisteanna (2884)

John Brady

Ceist:

2884. Deputy John Brady asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government the number of homes brought into use via the buy and renew scheme in each local authority in 2018 and to date in 2019. [32597/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Housing)

Details of the numbers of properties delivered for new social housing by local authorities, through the Buy and Renew Scheme from 2018 to date in 2019, are set out in the following table. While not all local authorities have utilised the Scheme to date, it should be noted that they can also acquire properties in need of remediation under their normal acquisitions programmes, the responsibility for which is largely delegated to local authorities.

Local Authority

Number of homes funded

Carlow

17

Cavan

1

Clare

22

Cork City

33

Cork County

3

DLR

1

Dublin City

26

Fingal

19

Kerry

23

Kildare

2

Leitrim

5

Limerick

32

Louth

51

Meath

18

Monaghan

18

Sligo

1

Tipperary

9

Waterford

6

Westmeath

2

Wexford

7

Land Development Agency

Ceisteanna (2885)

Darragh O'Brien

Ceist:

2885. Deputy Darragh O'Brien asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government the amount and location of lands that have been transferred to the land development agency to date; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [32615/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Housing)

The Land Development Agency (LDA) has been established on an interim basis by statutory instrument under the Local Government Services (Corporate Bodies) Act 1971. The Establishment Order is an initial and enabling measure to get the LDA up and running as quickly as possible, ahead of the provision of a more comprehensive primary legislative basis for the Agency and its intended scope of powers and operations.

The Government has approved the General Scheme of the LDA Bill for priority drafting. It is intended that the LDA Bill will be brought before the Oireachtas later this year.

On establishment, the Agency had access to an initial tranche of 8 sites – listed below - that have near term delivery potential for 3,000 new homes. The LDA is also currently engaged in the progression of a number of other sites with potential for significant housing output.

1. Central Mental Hospital Site, Dundrum

2. Hampton, Balbriggan

3. Hacketstown, Skerries

4. Devoy Barracks, Naas

5. Former Meath Hospital, Dublin City Centre

6. St. Kevin's Hospital, Cork

7. Columb Barracks, Mullingar

8. Dyke Road, Galway

While ownership of the sites will not formally transfer to the LDA until the primary legislation is enacted, the LDA is entering into pre-sale agreements with the land owners, as appropriate, to ensure that it has full access to the sites to carry out necessary pre-construction activities.

Significant preparatory work is already underway in relation to the initial sites, with feasibility, planning and other preparatory works already initiated. Construction activity is envisaged to commence on the first homes by mid-2020, subject to the grant of planning permissions.

Land Development Agency

Ceisteanna (2886)

Darragh O'Brien

Ceist:

2886. Deputy Darragh O'Brien asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government the number of staff employed by the land development agency to date; the number anticipated at full strength; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [32616/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Housing)

The Land Development Agency currently employs 9 staff members, which will rise progressively in line with the expansion of its development lands portfolio. The expectation is that the Agency will have some 25 staff when fully operational. Staffing of the LDA will be focused on securing experienced personnel in the areas of planning, construction and development, project management, finance, procurement and law.

Housing Agency Data

Ceisteanna (2887)

Darragh O'Brien

Ceist:

2887. Deputy Darragh O'Brien asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government the number of staff engaged in the housing delivery office per annum since its establishment; the average length of service in the office; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [32617/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Housing)

In line with the commitment under Action 2.9 of Rebuilding Ireland: Action Plan for Housing and Homelessness, a dedicated Housing Delivery Office (HDO) was established within my Department, in August 2016, to support the accelerated delivery of housing across the social and private sectors, and tenure spectrum, in an integrated and timely manner. Working with the broader Housing and Planning Divisions in my Department, other key agencies, local authorities and the construction sector, the HDO supports the roll-out of complex projects, including identifying and resolving barriers to delivery, and monitors progress across key sites as they progress.

At the time of its establishment, the HDO comprised a team of 4 people with extensive expertise in project management, finance, planning and local government, including staff seconded from the local government sector and the National Development Finance Agency.

Having carried out a range of initial initiatives, and taking account of the fact that some assignments to the office were time-limited, the HDO was refocused in September 2017 to work more closely on supporting local housing delivery and land management. In that context, the current team of 3 comprises 1 civil servant and 2 officers with experience of housing delivery and the local government sector. These officers have service ranging from 10 to 34 months in the HDO. In addition to this complement of staff, the HDO draws on supports from other relevant Business Units in my Department and other relevant public bodies and this can give rise to movements of staff resources between these connected areas from time to time.

As with all critical areas of activity in my Department, the resources available to the HDO are kept under regular review in the context of the ongoing evolution of the Office’s role and the implementation of the Rebuilding Ireland Action Plan.

Mayoral Election

Ceisteanna (2888)

Niall Collins

Ceist:

2888. Deputy Niall Collins asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government the process and steps which will be taken following the recent Limerick directly elected mayor plebiscite in advance of the stated election date of summer 2021; if a local consultation forum or committee will be established; if so, the make up of such a forum or committee; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [32695/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Housing)

The people of Limerick City and County decided in a plebiscite held on 24 May 2019 to support the Government's proposals for a directly elected mayor with executive functions for their Council area. The focus now is on carrying out the necessary preparatory work and delivering on the will of the people.

Under Section 44 of the Local Government Act 2019, I, as Minister, am required to prepare and submit to the Houses of the Oireachtas a report with legislative proposals for a directly elected mayor for Limerick.

Under the Act, the report and legislative proposals must be submitted within two years of the plebiscite vote, which would be 24 May 2021. However, I have set a more ambitious target and have asked my Department to prioritise this work with a view to bringing the report and legislative proposals forward at the earliest opportunity, targeting an election for Mayor of Limerick City and County Council in 2021.

The preparatory work will be guided by the policy approach set out in the published document "Directly Elected Mayors with Executive Functions: Detailed Policy Proposals" approved by the Government on 20 March 2019. There is also further significant work underway to systematically analyse all legislation conferring functions and powers on local authority chief executives and this involves consultation with key stakeholders, including other Government Departments.

As part of the implementation process, I intend to establish an implementation advisory group, comprising representatives of the key stakeholders, particularly the elected Council and management of Limerick City and County Council, to advise on the implementation of the mandate given by the people of Limerick. I expect this Group will be established in time to meet for the first time in September, to approve its terms of reference and work programme.

Housing Data

Ceisteanna (2889, 2890)

Imelda Munster

Ceist:

2889. Deputy Imelda Munster asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government the number of houses built each year since 2009 to date by village (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [32703/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Imelda Munster

Ceist:

2890. Deputy Imelda Munster asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government the number of houses yet to be built to date which have been granted planning permission by Meath County Council by village (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [32704/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Housing)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 2889 and 2890 together.

Planning statistics are compiled by each planning authority on an annual basis for collation and publication on my Department’s website, at the following link:

http://www.housing.gov.ie/planning/statistics/planning-statistics-1.

The statistics collected relate to the total numbers of:

- Invalid planning applications received,

- Applications received for outline permission and full permission,

- Decisions to grant/refuse permission,

- Decisions issued within the statutory eight week period,

- Decisions deferred, and

- Percentages for grants/refusals, decisions made within eight weeks and decisions deferred.

The statistics collected relate to the total number of applications and decisions for all developments that require planning permission, broken down by year and planning authority but are not broken down by development type.

The specific information requested in relation to the number of houses built by village, or yet to be built, in Meath County Council's functional area is not collated or available within my Department's statistics. Meath County Council may, however, compile information in this regard.

In addition, the Central Statistics Office (CSO), as the national statistical office, compiles and makes available detailed data on a number of housing related issues including permissions granted and completions by development type and county. Data is available at the following links on the CSO website:

https://www.cso.ie/en/statistics/construction/planningpermissions/

https://www.cso.ie/px/pxeirestat/Database/eirestat/New%20Dwelling%20Completions/New%20Dwelling%20Completions_statbank.asp?SP=New Dwelling Completions&Planguage=0.

Furthermore, as committed to under Rebuilding Ireland, my Department has developed a monthly housing activity report, which provides monthly updates on a range of statistics. This report is published on the Rebuilding Ireland website at http://rebuildingireland.ie/news-page/ .

Telecommunications Infrastructure

Ceisteanna (2891)

Catherine Connolly

Ceist:

2891. Deputy Catherine Connolly asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government if 5G enabling antenna infrastructure is being permitted via the new street lighting being installed in public spaces by local county councils nationally; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [32710/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Housing)

A Public Lighting Energy Efficiency Project for participating local authorities is currently in the initial stages of being procured by the local government sector. I understand that new street lighting specification designed to future proof new lanterns with connectors that will allow for the attachment of other technical infrastructure equipment such as antennae for 5G infrastructure will be incorporated as part of the project. It is anticipated that an invitation to tender for the project will issue by early 2020.

I have no role in the procurement of this project, which is being led by the local government sector itself and is not being funded by my Department.