Irish Water Administration

Ceisteanna (625)

John Brassil

Ceist:

625. Deputy John Brassil asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government if the first fix free programme promoted by Irish Water has been put on hold for the remainder for 2019; if so, the reason for same; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [39339/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Housing)

While I have no direct function in relation to the First Fix Free scheme, which is an operational matter for which Irish Water has responsibility, I understand that the scheme is available to Irish Water customers across the country and will continue to operate for the remainder of 2019 and beyond. Customers wishing to avail of the First Fix Free scheme may contact Irish Water directly on 1850 278 278.

Septic Tank Grants

Ceisteanna (626)

John Brassil

Ceist:

626. Deputy John Brassil asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government the status of the provision of funding and grants to persons to upgrade their domestic septic tanks; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [39340/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Housing)

A new funding scheme for on-site wastewater treatment systems (more commonly known as septic tanks) is being introduced and will replace the current grant which was brought into operation by the Domestic Waste Water Treatment System (Financial Assistance) Regulations 2013.  Under certain conditions, households can receive a grant to assist them in carrying out remediation, repair or upgrading works to, or replacement of their individual septic tanks.

To avail of the grant, the treatment system must have been inspected under the EPA's National Inspection Plan and an Advisory Notice must have been issued by the local authority under the Water Services (Amendment) Act 2012.  Also, the treatment system requiring attention must have been registered by the owner of the premises connected to it by 1 February 2013.

In order to ensure greater uniformity with other measures in the Multi-Annual Rural Water Programme, the means test that previously applied to this grant scheme is being removed and the level of grant support is being increased to 85% of the eligible costs of installation/upgrade or €5,000 (up from €2,500/€4,000) whichever is the lesser.  This represents an increase of 25% and 100% respectively, relative to the current maximum grant levels.

Work is at an advanced stage of development for the new scheme. I expect that the process will be completed shortly when the necessary regulations dealing with the financial assistance arrangements and related administrative matters are put in place. This will enable a circular letter, terms and conditions, guidance and the application form to issue to local authorities shortly thereafter.

In the meantime, the existing scheme continues to operate.  Details are available on my Department's website at the following link:

www.housing.gov.ie/water/water-quality/domestic-waste-water-systemsseptic-tanks/domestic-waste-water-treatment-1.

Repair and Leasing Scheme

Ceisteanna (627)

Denis Naughten

Ceist:

627. Deputy Denis Naughten asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government the number of applications granted under the repair and leasing scheme; the number of applications refused; the number of applications refused on the basis that there is no social housing demand for the property in the area; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [39352/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Housing)

At the end of Q2 2019, a total of 1,459 applications for the Repair and Leasing Scheme (RLS) had been received from property owners; 113 homes had been brought back into use and were tenanted; and 149 agreements for lease had been signed.

My Department has no direct role in deciding on individual applications under the scheme and does not collect data in relation to the number of applications refused. While my Department issues general guidance, the relevant local authority determines the eligibility for the scheme having regard to the location, suitability and demand for social housing in the area and also taking into consideration the extent of the repairs that may be required. Local authorities have responsibility for ensuring that homes brought into use under the scheme are required and fulfil social housing demand in their areas.

Departmental Correspondence

Ceisteanna (628)

Alan Kelly

Ceist:

628. Deputy Alan Kelly asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government the correspondence between his Department and Tipperary County Council between 1 May 2016 and 22 September 2019. [39460/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Housing)

The compilation of the information sought would involve a disproportionate amount of time and work, as it would require all areas of the Department's extensive range of activities to be checked in respect of a 3½ year period. If the Deputy wishes to submit a further more specific question in relation to  correspondence in regard to a particular area, I will endeavour to provide the information requested.

Emergency Accommodation Data

Ceisteanna (629)

Anne Rabbitte

Ceist:

629. Deputy Anne Rabbitte asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government the amount spent in each of the years 2016 to 2018 and to date in 2019 by county on emergency accommodation, in tabular form; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [39500/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Housing)

My Department's role in relation to homelessness involves the provision of a national framework of policy, legislation and funding to underpin the role of housing authorities in addressing homelessness at local level.  Statutory responsibility in relation to the provision of emergency accommodation for homeless persons rests with individual housing authorities. 

My Department does not fund any homeless service directly but provides funding to housing authorities towards these costs.  Under the funding arrangements, housing authorities must provide at least 10% of the cost of services from their own resources. Housing authorities may also incur additional expenditure on homeless related services outside of these funding arrangements with my Department.  Therefore, the exact amounts spent by housing authorities on homeless services, as well as the types of accommodation are a matter for individual housing authorities in consultation with the Management Group of the relevant regional joint Homelessness Consultative Forum.

Exchequer funding for homeless services is provided through my Department to housing authorities on a regional basis.  The following table sets out the funding recouped to housing authorities on a regional basis for the years 2016 to 2019 (to date).

Exchequer funding provided for homeless accommodation and related services under the Housing Act, 1988

Region

2016

2017

2018

2019 (to date)

Dublin

€68,627,075

€83,616,643

€106,267,187

€95,205,899

Mid-East

€2,746,651

€3,092,923

€3,738,000

€3,387,500

Midland

€1,109,748

€1,467,615

€2,177,128

€1,777,000

Mid-West

€3,500,000

€3,906,686

€5,044,000

€5,434,100

North-East

€1,493,336

€2,762,845

€3,007,520

€1,227,500

North-West

€411,946

€450,000

€541,522

€502,700

South-East

€3,041,840

€3,444,510

€3,815,000

€3,312,700

South-West

€5,375,609

€6,703,444

€9,687,741

€6,785,600

West

€2,370,295

€3,791,334

€4,721,895

€4,896,200

   

Financial reports from each of the regions, setting out expenditure on homeless services, including emergency accommodation in each region, are published on my Department's website at the following link: www.housing.gov.ie/housing/homelessness/other/homelessness-data.

Social and Affordable Housing Data

Ceisteanna (630, 631)

Anne Rabbitte

Ceist:

630. Deputy Anne Rabbitte asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government when the affordable housing scheme will be open to applicants in County Galway; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [39501/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Anne Rabbitte

Ceist:

631. Deputy Anne Rabbitte asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government the number of affordable houses built under an affordable housing scheme which would not include standard local authority housing, HAP or rent supplement in 2017, 2018 and to date in 2019 by scheme in County Galway; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [39502/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Housing)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 630 and 631 together.

Part 5 of the Housing (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 2009 was commenced in June 2018 to provide a statutory basis for the delivery of affordable housing for purchase.

Regulations in respect of the making of Schemes of Priority were signed on 12 March 2019, and these were issued to local authorities on 22 March 2019.  The purpose of a Scheme of Priority is to set out the affordable purchase arrangements at local authority level.  This includes the methodology that will be applied by local authorities to determine the order of priority to be accorded to eligible households where the demand for such affordable dwellings exceeds the number available.  Both Galway City and County Councils have submitted their Schemes of Priority to my Department and both schemes have been approved.  

In line with the legal requirements of the Affordable Dwelling Purchase Arrangements, further regulations will be put in place over the coming months regarding eligibility and other matters. When the operational procedures for the scheme are finalised, and before dwellings are made available for purchase under the scheme, a programme of communication will be undertaken by my Department and local authorities. 

To support the delivery of more affordable homes to buy or rent the Government has committed €310 million under the Serviced Sites Fund (SSF), from 2019 to 2021 to provide infrastructure support for the delivery of over 6,000 dwellings.  The first call for proposals under the SSF in June 2018 was specifically targeted at 11 local authorities, where the greatest affordability pressures exists.  In December 2018, Approval in Principle was announced for funding for 10 infrastructure projects, in Dublin and Cork, with an allocated budget of €43 million. This will support the delivery of approximately 1,400 affordable homes. 

A second call for proposals under the SSF issued in April 2019 to 19 local authorities. I announced Approval in Principle for 25 infrastructure projects across 13 local authority areas on the 6th August 2019.  This significant funding commitment of €84 million will support the delivery of 1,770 affordable homes for purchase.  Of these 25 projects approved, one was in Galway City and one in Galway County.  The projects, details of which can be found on the rebuildingireland.ie website at the following link were allocated a combined €6.5 million in funding for infrastructure to support the delivery thereafter of 125 affordable homes.

https://rebuildingireland.ie/news/minister-murphy-approves-funding-of-e84m-to-support-delivery-of-1770-affordable-homes-under-the-ssf/.

I would anticipate that a further Call for Proposals will issue to local authorities in 2020.  SSF announcements to date mean that funding support has been allocated to enable delivery of almost 3,200 more affordable homes. The overall cost and the timing of delivery for SSF 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.

This schemes will complement other key Government affordability initiatives, such as the Rebuilding Ireland Home Loan, and the Help to Buy Scheme, which have supported some 15,000 households nationally.

Planning Issues

Ceisteanna (632)

Eoin Ó Broin

Ceist:

632. Deputy Eoin Ó Broin asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government if the report into alleged planning irregularities in County Donegal will be published; and the action he plans to take arising from the contents of the report. [39599/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Housing)

I received the report, entitled 'A Review Into Certain Planning Matters in Respect of Donegal County Council', on 11th June 2017.

Following initial analysis and assessment of the report’s findings and recommendations, including interaction with the Department’s own legal advisors and the Attorney General’s Office, a comprehensive set of queries and a request for advice in relation to certain matters was submitted to the Attorney General. This included a request for advice regarding potential publication or dissemination of the report.

Taking account of the Attorney General's advice, my Department considered the matter further and prepared a submission for my consideration, including an assessment of the options available to me in terms of publication or dissemination. 

I am considering the report and the extensive legal advices received. Once I have concluded my deliberations, I will be in a position to make a further statement.

State Bodies Data

Ceisteanna (633)

Thomas Pringle

Ceist:

633. Deputy Thomas Pringle asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government the fees and expenses paid to each member of the management board of the National Directorate for Fire and Emergency Management in each of the years 2013 to 2018, in tabular form; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [39618/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Housing)

The Management Board for the National Directorate of Fire and Emergency Management (NDFEM) was established in June 2009. Generally, it has had a membership of 13, made up as follows:

-  An Independent Chairperson

-  The head of the relevant division within my Department

-  The National Director of Fire and Emergency Management

-  A representative from the Insurance Federation of Ireland

-  A representative from the Department of Defence

-  Representatives of the Chief Fire Officers Association

-  Representatives from the City and County Management Association, including the Chief Executive of Dublin City Council, and,

-  An independent international expert.  

The current membership of the Board is set out on my Department's website at the following link: www.housing.gov.ie/community/fire-and-emergency-management/national-directorate/about-us.

Fees and expenses paid by my Department to relevant members of the Management board, including in respect of significant pieces of work undertaken as part of the NDFEM work programme for the period 2013 to 2018, are set out in the following table.

 

2013

2014

2015

2016

2017

2018

Chair

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fee

9,450

9,450

9,450

9,450

9,450

9,450

International   Expert

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fee

15,000

30,000

30,000

37,500

30,000

30,000

Expenses

2,046

4,281

11,227

9,827

14,061

17,357

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Foreshore Issues

Ceisteanna (634)

Róisín Shortall

Ceist:

634. Deputy Róisín Shortall asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government further to Parliamentary Question No. 554 of 24 September 2019, if a local authority (details supplied) has applied for a licence for the removal or disturbance of beach material from State-owned foreshore in the administrative area of the local authority as per section 3 of the Foreshore Acts 1933 to 2014; if so, if the license has been granted; if a copy of the license is available; if not, if the matter will be addressed with the local authority with a view to regularising the situation; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [39666/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Housing)

There is no record of an application by the local authority in question along the lines detailed in the question. 

Rental Sector

Ceisteanna (635)

Eoin Ó Broin

Ceist:

635. Deputy Eoin Ó Broin asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government his plans to introduce regulations for a tenancy deposit protection scheme; and if his Department has commenced work on the development of such a scheme. [39727/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Housing)

The Residential Tenancies (Amendment) Act 2015 provides for, among other things, the establishment of a tenancy deposit protection scheme to be operated by the Residential Tenancies Board (RTB).

There have been significant changes in the rental market since the 2015 scheme was first envisaged and designed. For example, the draft scheme was originally intended to be financed by the interest payable on deposits lodged; this is no longer viable, given the current financial market conditions. Furthermore, it is noteworthy that disputes relating to deposits are no longer the most common dispute type referred to the RTB.

Financing the operation of the scheme is an important consideration, particularly in terms of ensuring that the likely outcomes of a new scheme are achieved efficiently and effectively and that the best value from public funds is secured. Careful consideration is therefore required to introduce any necessary reforms and enhancements to the 2015 scheme, with a view to considering whether and how to introduce a re-designed scheme that is fit for purpose and suitable for current and future rental and financial markets. 

 A review of the feasibility of amending  and implementing the 2015 tenancy deposit protection scheme is being considered, in consultation with the RTB.

The outcome of any review, along with consideration of other deposit related issues, will be taken into account in the preparation of the forthcoming Residential Tenancies (Amendment) Bill.

Approved Housing Bodies

Ceisteanna (636)

Catherine Connolly

Ceist:

636. Deputy Catherine Connolly asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government the status of the review of AHBs not signed up to the voluntary regulation code for approved housing bodies; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [39774/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Housing)

The oversight of Approved Housing Bodies (AHBs) is currently conducted through the Voluntary Regulation Code (VRC), "Building for the Future, A Voluntary Regulation Code for Approved Housing Bodies in Ireland". The VRC is overseen by the Interim Regulation Committee (IRC) supported by a Regulation Office based in the Housing Agency.

In September 2018, the Regulation Office wrote to those AHBs who were not signed up to the Code, to encourage them to do so, by reminding them that funding eligibility is limited to those AHBs signed up to and demonstrating compliance with the Code.

The priority for my Department in relation to enhancing the regulation of the AHB Sector has been to progress the Housing (Regulation of Approved Housing Bodies) Bill, so that an enhanced system of statutory regulation is put in place. Now that the Bill has been published, work has commenced on a review of those AHBs that are not signed up to the voluntary code, with a view to delisting those that are inactive. The aim will be to complete this exercise ahead of the introduction of the enhanced statutory regulation which the new legislation will provide, ultimately ensuring that all active AHBs are governed by the statutory code.

Emergency Accommodation Data

Ceisteanna (637)

Eoin Ó Broin

Ceist:

637. Deputy Eoin Ó Broin asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government the status of the quality standards framework inspection regime for emergency homeless accommodation; and when the framework will be in place. [39788/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Housing)

Statutory responsibility in relation to the provision of accommodation and related services for homeless persons rests with individual housing authorities.  This responsibility of housing authorities includes responsibility for ensuring that contracted services are delivered in a professional manner, in line with any service level agreement that is in place.  

Supporting individuals and families experiencing homelessness is a priority for the Government.  The Dublin Region Homeless Executive has developed a National Quality Standards Framework (NQSF) on behalf of my Department.  The Framework has been developed to ensure a more consistent approach in how local authorities and service providers respond to the needs of those experiencing homelessness.  The Framework was implemented on a phased basis in the Dublin region, with site visits commencing in February.  The experience gained from the completion of the rollout in the Dublin region and the commencement of site visits has allowed the DRHE to evaluate how the Framework should be implemented nationally and to advise my Department accordingly.

Earlier this year, my Department wrote to local authorities, advising them on the process for the implementation of the Framework, which is being undertaken on a nationwide basis over a 12-month period commencing on 1 July 2019.

Housing Assistance Payment

Ceisteanna (638)

Róisín Shortall

Ceist:

638. Deputy Róisín Shortall asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government if the homeless housing assistance payment maximum monthly allowable rent limits for the Dublin City Council area are set by his Department; if so, the rates set for each household type; if not, the person or body responsible for setting the homeless HAP maximum monthly allowable rent limits for the Dublin City Council for each household type; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [39789/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Housing)

Maximum rent limits for the Housing Assistance Payment (HAP) scheme are set for each housing authority area by the Housing Assistance Payment (Amendment) Regulations 2017. The current maximum HAP rent limits are available on the Irish Statute Book website, www.irishstatutebook.ie/eli/2017/si/56/made/en/print?q=housing&years=2017.

The HAP limits were agreed in conjunction with the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection (DEASP). In reviewing rent limits, the Department worked closely with the DEASP and monitored data gathered from the Residential Tenancies Board and the HAP Shared Services Centre. The HAP rent limits were increased significantly in July 2016, in the order of 60% in some areas.

Local authorities also have discretion, because of local rental market conditions, to exceed the maximum rent limit by up to 20%, or up to 50% in the Dublin region for those households either in, or at immediate risk of homelessness. The additional discretion available to homeless households recognises the difficulty this cohort of households face in sourcing and securing properties in a highly competitive rental market. It should be noted that it is a matter for the local authority to determine if the application of the flexibility is warranted on a case by case basis and also the level of additional discretion applied in each case.

HAP rent limits are kept under constant review, as is the use of discretion by local authorities, and data indicate that there is no need to increase the rent limits at this time. I am conscious that any such increase could have negative inflationary impacts, leading to a detrimental impact on the wider rental market, including for those households who are not receiving HAP support.

I am satisfied that the current maximum rent limits, together with the additional flexibility available to local authorities, are generally sufficient to support the effective operation of the HAP scheme. However, I will continue to keep the matter under review.

Social and Affordable Housing

Ceisteanna (639)

Eoin Ó Broin

Ceist:

639. Deputy Eoin Ó Broin asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government the status of the roll-out of choice based letting across all local authorities as per page 5 of the guidance document issued in December 2016 (details supplied). [39798/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Housing)

Choice Based Letting (CBL) is a method whereby available social housing stock is let by being advertised by local authorities to persons on the social housing waiting list. This allows qualified applicants to 'register an interest' in available homes.

Applicants can act on their own initiative to respond to adverts and express an interest in dwellings that they would like to live in, rather than waiting for an authority to offer them a dwelling. This approach offers more choice and involvement for applicant households in selecting a new home, thereby reducing the likelihood of a refusal, and helping to build sustainable tenancies and stable communities.

On 30 September 2016, the Social Housing Allocation (Amendment) Regulations 2016 were made, which required that all local authorities must, if they had not already done so, provide for Choice Based Letting (CBL) as a potential method of allocation in their allocation schemes by 31 December 2016.

Where a local authority, having included a provision on CBL in its allocation scheme, decides to operate a CBL scheme, it must implement it in accordance with Regulations 6 – 11 of the 2011 Regulations.  The way in which CBL is implemented, including decisions on which properties are to be offered through it, is a matter for the individual authority concerned. However, it must be done in accordance with the relevant regulations and their own scheme of priority.

30 of the 31 local authorities have updated their allocation schemes to provide for CBL as a method of allocation. The remaining local authority has confirmed to my Department that it intends to bring forward an amended scheme, including a provision for CBL before the end of this year.

My Department monitors the roll-out of CBL across all local authorities, and has undertaken a number of surveys to determine its uptake and impact. The most recent of these was conducted in the last quarter of 2018, at which stage 16 of the 31 local authorities indicated that they were operating a CBL model as part of their allocation scheme. A further 6 local authorities have indicated they were examining the feasibility of CBL with a view to rolling out a solution in the near future. The majority of those local authorities who had implemented it said that CBL has had a positive impact on how they allocate dwellings.

Given the clear benefits offered by CBL, my Department will continue to liaise with the local authorities to ensure that it is implemented as widely as possible across the country. In fact, my Department will be meeting with local authority Directors of Housing later  in Quarter 4 this year to look at the operation of CBL.

Pyrite Issues

Ceisteanna (640, 641)

Darragh O'Brien

Ceist:

640. Deputy Darragh O'Brien asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government the amount allocated to the pyrite remediation scheme and expended, respectively in each of the years 2013 to 2018; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [39854/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Darragh O'Brien

Ceist:

641. Deputy Darragh O'Brien asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government the amount allocated to the pyrite remediation scheme for 2019; the amount spent to date; the projected underspend or overspend at year end; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [39855/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Housing)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 640 and 641 together.

The Pyrite Resolution Act 2013 provides the statutory framework for the establishment of the Pyrite Resolution Board and for the making of a pyrite remediation scheme to be implemented by the Board with support from the Housing Agency. The pyrite remediation scheme was first adopted in February 2014.

The provisions of the Act apply only to dwellings affected by significant damage attributable to pyritic heave consequent on the presence of reactive pyrite in the subfloor hardcore material and not to damage arising in any other circumstance, e.g. such as pyrite in concrete blocks.

The pyrite remediation scheme is a scheme of “last resort” for affected homeowners who have no other practical option to obtain redress and is limited in its application and scope. The full conditions for eligibility under the scheme are set out in the scheme which is available on the Board’s website, www.pyriteboard.ie.

The scheme is applicable to dwellings which are subject to significant damage attributable to pyritic heave, established in accordance with I.S. 398-1:2017 - Reactive pyrite in sub-floor hardcore material – Part 1: Testing and categorisation protocol. In this regard, it is a condition of eligibility under the scheme that an application to the Board must be accompanied by a Building Condition Assessment with a Damage Condition Rating of 2. Dwellings which do not have a Damage Condition Rating of 2 are not eligible to apply under the scheme. This ensures that, having regard to the available resources, the focus of the scheme is on dwellings which are most severely damaged by pyritic heave.

Some €2.2 million was provided to the Housing Agency in 2014 to meet expenditure incurred under the scheme in respect of design work, contractors, expenses to homeowners, operational costs, and the administrative costs to the Housing Agency. The remediation of 5 dwellings was completed in the final quarter of that year.

An additional sum of €10 million was made available in Budget 2015 to fund the operation of the scheme in 2015, when a further 148 dwellings had remedial works completed under the scheme.

€26.6 million was provided for the scheme in 2016. Some 400 dwellings were remediated under the scheme in 2016 giving an aggregate total of 553 dwellings completed since the scheme was first introduced.

In 2017, some €25 million was provided, facilitating the remediation of some 400 additional dwellings, giving an aggregate total of 945 dwellings completed from when the scheme was first introduced up to the end of 2017.

A sum of €30 million was announced under Budget 2018 to fund the operation of the pyrite remediation scheme in 2018. This allocation facilitated the remediation of some 430 additional dwellings in 2018 giving an aggregate total of 1,378 dwellings completed since the scheme was first introduced in February 2014. The total allocation was expended in each of the years 2014 to 2018.

The latest figures available indicate that 2,473 applications have been received under the pyrite remediation scheme. Of these, 2,003 dwellings have been included in the scheme and the applicants notified accordingly. A further 87 applications have been validated and referred to the Housing Agency for the Assessment and Verification Process, while another 219 applications are at the initial Application and Validation Process. 164 applications under the scheme were not successful.

Of the 2,003 dwellings that have been included in the pyrite remediation scheme: 55 are at remedial works planning stage, 7 are at tender / tender analysis, 247 are under remediation, and 1,694 are complete.

A sum of €32 million is available to fund the operation of the pyrite remediation scheme this year, of which €22 million has been drawn down by the Housing Agency to date. I understand that the Housing Agency estimate that a minimum of €30 million will be drawn down by the end of 2019. This will facilitate the remediation of some 460 additional dwellings. This will bring to approximately €126m the total funding provided under the scheme since 2014.

Ultimately, the Pyrite Resolution Board, together with the Housing Agency, will arrange for all eligible dwellings to be remediated to a high standard and at no additional cost to the affected homeowners. Remediation works will continue to be carried out at the earliest possible opportunity having regard to the existing demands of the scheme and the optimum use of available resources.

Local Authority Housing

Ceisteanna (642, 643)

John Lahart

Ceist:

642. Deputy John Lahart asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government if there is a maximum number of housing units that a local authority may purchase from a private developer; and if there is a maximum value of individual units beyond which a local authority may not purchase. [39859/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

John Lahart

Ceist:

643. Deputy John Lahart asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government the rules governing the purchase of residential units in new developments by local authorities. [39860/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Housing)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 642 and 643 together.

My Department is supporting local authorities in the provision of social housing across a range of delivery mechanisms including through new build activity, as part of which some authorities work in partnership with developers through turnkey arrangements. Delivery is also happening through long-term leasing and acquisitions. 

As housing authorities, the local authorities are responsible for the identification of the social housing need in their areas and for the development of appropriate responses to meet this need. While there is no prescribed maximum scale or size for new social housing development, the approach to developments by the local authorities is dependent on the precise circumstances and location and they are best positioned to assess this, in line with guidance provided by my Department through the publication 'Quality Housing for Sustainable Communities', which is available on my Department's website at the following link:  www.housing.gov.ie/sites/default/files/migrated-files/en/Publications/DevelopmentandHousing/Housing/FileDownLoad%2C1979%2Cen.pdf.

In seeking funding approval from my Department for new social housing homes, whether through build, acquisition or leasing activity, local authorities must confirm that they are satisfied that the proposal is appropriate to the local area, supports the development of sustainable communities and represents value for money. For the latter, an independent valuation is usually provided by the local authorities who also work within guide costs from my Department, which vary depending on location and sizes of properties.

Water Services

Ceisteanna (644)

Pat Casey

Ceist:

644. Deputy Pat Casey asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government the status of the roll-out and take-up of the multi-annual rural water programme announced in February 2019 and for which the deadline for applications was 14 March 2019; the number of applicants successful and unsuccessful by local authority area for each measure under the programme; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [39863/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Housing)

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.  An Expert Panel has been put in place to support the evaluation process and its membership includes Departmental, stakeholder and independent representation.

The Expert Panel has made 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. I expect to conclude consideration of the Panel's recommendations and to make an announcement of the allocations shortly.