Free Travel Scheme

Ceisteanna (484)

Brendan Griffin

Ceist:

484. Deputy Brendan Griffin asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection if a companion pass will be reinstated in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Kerry following the submission of comprehensive medical evidence outlining the requirement; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [40982/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Employment)

The person concerned was awarded a Free Travel Companion Pass in 2016, to be reviewed in one year. Following review in 2018, the Department's Medical Advisor found that the claimant does not require a Free Travel Companion Pass on medical grounds and subsequently the pass was revoked on 2 November 2018.

Later that month, the claimant reapplied for a Companion Pass. This application was also disallowed on medical grounds on 13 December 2018. The claimant has submitted further medical evidence in support of his claim in April , May and July 2019. I am advised that the person's claim for Companion Pass was again disallowed by a Departmental Medical Adviser on 16 August 2019, as the medical evidence supplied did not indicate that the customer was medically unfit to travel alone.

It remains open to the person concerned to provide additional (or specialist) medical evidence in support of their claim for a companion pass. If further evidence is provided, the matter will be re-examined.

I hope this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.

Working Family Payment Applications

Ceisteanna (485)

Paul Kehoe

Ceist:

485. Deputy Paul Kehoe asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the status of a working family payment application by a person (details supplied); when a decision will be made; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [40984/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Employment)

Working Family Payment (WFP) is an in-work payment which provides additional income support to employees on low earnings with children.

In order to qualify for WFP you must have at least 1 qualified child who normally resides with you. Under Social Welfare Legislation, a qualified child is defined as a child under 18 years of age or aged between 18 and 22 and in full-time day education.

Working family payment for the person concerned was due for renewal on 18 July 2019. From the information provided at the time of renewal the person concerned did not meet the condition of having a qualified child and the claim was disallowed.

I am advised that my Department will carry out a review of the working family payment entitlement for the person concerned. When this has been completed my Department will contact the person concerned with the outcome of this review.

I trust this clarifies matters.

Disability Allowance Applications

Ceisteanna (486)

Willie O'Dea

Ceist:

486. Deputy Willie O'Dea asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection when a decision will be made on an application by a person (details supplied) for a disability allowance qualified adult pertaining to the spouse of the applicant; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [40989/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Employment)

The person concerned has been awarded an increase for a qualified adult (IQA) on their disability allowance (DA) with effect from 3 April 2019. The first payment will be made by his chosen payment method on 9 October 2019.

Arrears of payment due will issue as soon as possible once any necessary adjustment is calculated and applied in respect of any overlapping payments (if applicable).

I trust this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.

Carer's Allowance Applications

Ceisteanna (487)

Brendan Griffin

Ceist:

487. Deputy Brendan Griffin asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection if an application by a person (details supplied) for a carer's allowance will be processed; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [41011/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Employment)

Carer's allowance (CA) is a means-tested social assistance payment, made to persons who are providing full-time care and attention to a person who has such a disability that they require that level of care.

The person concerned has been in receipt of a Carers Allowance payment since 4th April 2002. The department has no record of an additional application for a second caree by the person concerned. If the person concerned wishes to make a further application, she should complete and return an application form (CR1) to carer’s allowance section in the social welfare services office, Longford, as soon as possible.

I hope this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.

Carer's Allowance Applications

Ceisteanna (488)

Brendan Griffin

Ceist:

488. Deputy Brendan Griffin asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection if a decision has been made on an application by a person (details supplied) for a carer's allowance; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [41029/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Employment)

Carer's allowance (CA) is a means-tested social assistance payment, made to persons who are providing full-time care and attention to a person who has such a disability that they require that level of care.

I confirm that my department received an application for carer’s allowance from the person concerned on 21 June 2019. Additional information in relation to the person’s application has been requested by a deciding officer. 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 .

JobPath Programme

Ceisteanna (489)

James Browne

Ceist:

489. Deputy James Browne asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the steps she will take to ensure that a person (details supplied) does not need to attend Turas Nua appointments; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [41040/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Employment)

All Jobseekers on the live register; including those working part time and in receipt of jobseeker payments must be capable of; available for and actively seeking full time employment, they are also required to engage with the Department’s activation services. The Social Welfare (Consolidated) Act 2005, as amended, specifies that participation in activation meetings is mandatory.

JobPath is an employment activation service provided by my Department that supports people who are long-term unemployed, including those in casual or part time employment. The person concerned was referred to JobPath on the 2nd March 2019 as a part-time casual worker.

Customers referred to JobPath who are working part-time have all activities including meetings with their personal advisor scheduled around their work commitments and the JobPath contractors are required to be flexible in the provision of the service in that respect.

JobPath contractors give due notice of any changes to scheduled appointments including cancellations. Unfortunately in this case I am advised that appointments have been cancelled at short notice due to unforeseen emergency personal circumstances of the Turas Nua employee. It was not possible to provide written notice to the client in these instances due to the limited time involved. On each occasion an SMS message was sent to the individual in advance of the appointment time notifying them of the cancellations.

In the case of the customer concerned several scheduled appointments have been rescheduled at the customer’s request due to their work commitments. Turas Nua will not request a customer to forgo paid employment to attend a scheduled appointment.

I am advised that the person concerned had not attended two scheduled appointments, Turas Nua were not notified by the individual of their reason for non-attendance. In such instances the service provider is contracted to refer a customer to their local Intreo Centre to be advised of their obligation to attend scheduled appointments, as was the case for this individual.

JobPath providers give an immediate reimbursement for travel expenses for all customers that use public transport or private transport to attend scheduled appointments. This includes a contribution towards fuel costs for travel by car, based on miles travelled to and from scheduled appointments. Clients of the service are made aware of this policy when they first engage with the service. In this case the customer has not sought reimbursement of their travel cost for using their own car for attending scheduled appointments.

As the person concerned is still in receipt of a Jobseeker’s payment she is therefore expected to continue to attend scheduled appointments with the Job Path service.

I trust this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.

Illness Benefit Applications

Ceisteanna (490)

Seán Haughey

Ceist:

490. Deputy Seán Haughey asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection if an illness benefit for a person (details supplied) will issue; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [41051/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Employment)

The Illness Benefit claim from the person concerned has been awarded and is currently paid up to date.

I am advised that there was a delay in the person concerned receiving payment as the account details provided to the Department were incorrect.

The department received the correct bank account details on the 27th September 2019, and the person's claim was subsequently updated and all arrears issued from the Department on that date.

I trust this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.

Community Employment Schemes Funding

Ceisteanna (491)

Niall Collins

Ceist:

491. Deputy Niall Collins asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the way in which, and the area from which, the €2.5 million additional funding announced in budget 2019 for the materials budget of community employment schemes has been spent; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [41055/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Employment)

Community Employment (CE) is aimed at quality projects that provide excellent work experience that will assist a person participating on CE to enter the open labour market on exit from the scheme. The programme supports voluntary and community companies to provide local services for their communities.

CE sponsors receive annual contracts from my Department which fund the employment of both CE participants and supervisors. Funding is also provided towards training and material costs. The materials provision covers all consumable services and materials necessary for the effective operation of the CE project including such items as Employers and Public Liability Insurances, tools, stationery, audit fees, bank charges (excluding bank interest), protective clothing and hire of equipment. The material payment enables sponsors to deliver the programme.

Material funding is provided to CE sponsors in accordance with their requirements. I provided an additional materials funding of €2m in Budget 2019. This additional provision has been allocated to projects that required this additional funding as set out above.

I trust this clarifies the position for the Deputy.

School Meals Programme

Ceisteanna (492)

Anne Rabbitte

Ceist:

492. Deputy Anne Rabbitte asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the estimated amount it would cost to roll out the school meals programme to all primary and secondary schools here; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [41060/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Employment)

The school meals programme provides funding towards the provision of food to some 1,580 schools and organisations benefitting 250,000 children at a total cost of €57.6 million in 2019 representing an increase of €3.6 million over the previous year. The objective of the scheme is to provide regular, nutritious food to children who are unable, due to lack of good quality food, to take full advantage of the education provided to them. The programme is an important component of policies to encourage school attendance and extra educational achievement.

According to information contained on the Department of Educations and Skills website there are 3,240 primary schools and 722 secondary schools with a combined enrolment of 930,671 students (567,772 in primary schools and 362,899 in secondary schools). If a breakfast/snack at 60c per child, per day, and a lunch at €1.40 per child, per day, to all students in these schools, it would cost approximately €324m (€204m for primary schools and €120m for secondary schools) for a full school year.

State Pensions Reform

Ceisteanna (493)

Brendan Griffin

Ceist:

493. Deputy Brendan Griffin asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection her views on a matter (details supplied) regarding changes to the old age pension; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [41149/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Employment)

The introduction of a Total Contributions Approach (TCA) to establishing the level of entitlement for all new state pension contributory claims was signalled by the then Government in the National Pensions Framework in 2010. At that time it set a target date of 2020 for the implementation of TCA. More recently, the Roadmap for Pensions Reform 2018-2023 targeted implementation of the TCA from Q3 of 2020. This is subject to the necessary legislation being enacted and supporting structures being in place.

Consultation is a very important part of the development and design of the new pension. With this in mind, I launched a public consultation on the design of the TCA on the 28th of May 2018 to which a wide variety of stakeholder groups were invited. A number of workshops were also held on the day to elicit views and feedback.

Shortly afterwards, Oireachtas members were invited to a detailed briefing by my officials in Leinster House. The consultation was open for over three months and the Department received almost 300 responses from individuals and organisations. Those submissions outlined the views of respondents on the issues of most interest to them including how self-employed people and Class S PRSI contributions since 1988 could be treated.

Having carefully examined the outputs of the consultation process, my Department is now designing the scheme and I intend to bring a proposal to Government setting out that design in the near future. When the Government has agreed the overall approach to be taken, including measures in relation to Class S contributors, I will initiate the work required to introduce this reform.

I hope this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.

Nitrates Action Programme

Ceisteanna (494)

Mattie McGrath

Ceist:

494. Deputy Mattie McGrath asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government if he will consider extending the slurry spreading deadline to 30 October 2019 in view of adverse weather conditions; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [40680/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Housing)

The European Union (Good Agricultural Practice for Protection of Waters) Regulations 2017, as amended, give legal effect in Ireland to the Nitrates Directive and to our Nitrates Action Programme. The Nitrates Directive requires all member states to define set periods when the land application of fertiliser, including slurry, is not allowed and in Ireland the closed season commences on 15 October.

The closed periods for land application of fertiliser in Ireland were decided following extensive consultation and were discussed with farming bodies and the European Commission as Ireland introduced the Nitrates Action Programme. The provisions of the Regulations are underpinned by scientific research and good agricultural practice. The most recent scientific studies carried out on a diverse range of farm and soil types as part of Teagasc’s ongoing Agricultural Catchments Programme have provided further evidence in support of regulating spreading periods as an effective means of reducing nutrient losses to waters.

While acknowledging the challenging weather conditions experienced during certain periods this year, including in recent weeks, I do not have any plans to make changes to the slurry spreading deadline. However, I will continue to keep this matter under review in consultation with the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine.

Water Meters Installation

Ceisteanna (495)

Richard Boyd Barrett

Ceist:

495. Deputy Richard Boyd Barrett asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government if Irish Water is no longer installing domestic water meters; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [40549/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Housing)

Since 1 January 2014, Irish Water has statutory responsibility for all aspects of water services planning, delivery and operation at national, regional and local levels, pursuant to Section 7 of the Water Services (No. 2) Act 2013 which provided for the transfer to Irish Water of all water services functions conferred on the county and city councils by the Water Services Act 2007. Section 32 of the 2007 Act sets out responsibilities in respect of general water services functions and includes the installation and maintenance of meters.

Irish Water has produced Standard Details and a Code of Practice which outlines acceptable design and construction practices for contractors which must be adhered to, to connect to Irish Water infrastructure. I am advised by Irish Water that according to this Code of Practice all new housing developments that are currently being completed by contractors are required to have a meter-ready boundary box installed. Before the establishment of Irish Water, local authorities also applied this requirement. This applies to new houses; houses where the refurbishment requires planning permission; and apartment blocks which will be fitted with bulk meters. These pre-installed meter-ready boundary boxes enable Irish Water to fit meters in developments in a planned programme of works, consistent with recommendations made in the 2017 Report of the Joint Oireachtas Committee on the Future Funding of Water Services, in the interests of effective leak detection and conservation of water supplies.

Approved Housing Bodies

Ceisteanna (496, 498, 499, 500)

Eoin Ó Broin

Ceist:

496. Deputy Eoin Ó Broin asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government the number of approved housing bodies that have tier 1 certified body status; the number given tier 1 certified body status in the past year; and the number awarded certified body status in the past year (details supplied). [40555/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Louise O'Reilly

Ceist:

498. Deputy Louise O'Reilly asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government the number of approved housing bodies that have tier 1 certified body status. [40590/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Louise O'Reilly

Ceist:

499. Deputy Louise O'Reilly asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government the number of approved housing bodies given tier 1 certified body status in the past year. [40591/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Louise O'Reilly

Ceist:

500. Deputy Louise O'Reilly asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government the number of approved housing bodies awarded a certified body status in the past year (details supplied). [40592/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Housing)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 496 and 498 to 500, inclusive, together.

Housing bodies are granted approved status by the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government, under Section 6 of the Housing (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1992, for the purpose of being able to receive funding from local authorities, to provide social housing.

The identification of Tiers within the overall cohort of AHBs is relevant in the context of the Voluntary Regulation Code (VRC). AHBs not signed up to the Code have not identified which Tier their organisation would fall under. At present, 275 AHBs have signed up to the Code comprising 202 Tier 1, 54 Tier 2 and 19 in Tier 3.

From October 2018 to date, 4 new AHBs have been registered. All four bodies have signed up to the VRC as part of their application for approved status. Under the VRC the bodies are required to confirm which tier of the code they will fall under depending on units already in their ownership and/or their future plans. In the case of these four new AHBs, 3 identified as Tier 1 organisations and 1 has self-declared as a Tier 2.

River Basin Management Plans

Questions Nos. 498 to 500, inclusive, answered with Question No. 496.

Ceisteanna (497)

Jan O'Sullivan

Ceist:

497. Deputy Jan O'Sullivan asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government the status of progress made by the steering group to recommend ways to improve the fish passage at Parteen and Ardnacrusha on the River Shannon; the consultation process it is engaging in; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [40571/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Housing)

The formation of a Steering Group in relation to the fish passage at Parteen was a key commitment in the River Basin Management Plan for Ireland 2018-2021. The Group, which was formally launched in October 2018, was tasked to advise on opportunities to improve fish migration in the lower Shannon.

To assist the Steering Group in developing a number of viable options for consideration, external expertise was procured from consultants CDM Smith who were appointed in April 2019.

The Steering Group has identified consultation and engagement with stakeholders as a key issue and it has put in place a process for public dialogue. In this regard, a public information session, including roundtable discussions, took place in the Castletroy Park Hotel, in Limerick on 25 June 2019. The outcomes from this meeting, together with the engagement of the wider consultative group, membership of which is set out in the table below, are currently being considered as the project progresses to examining potential options.

A further public information session will be held to assist in refining potential options proposed once these are identified. I expect that further consultation will take place shortly.

The Steering Group is expected to present its recommendations by April 2020.

Parteen Fish Passage Steering Group Members

Core Group:

Consultative Group:

Department of Housing, Planning & Local Government

Environmental Protection Agency

Electricity Supply Board

National Parks and Wildlife Service

Inland Fisheries Ireland

Office of Public Works

Irish Water

Shannon Fisheries Partnership

Waterways Ireland

Questions Nos. 498 to 500, inclusive, answered with Question No. 496.

Local Authority Leases

Ceisteanna (501)

Martin Kenny

Ceist:

501. Deputy Martin Kenny asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government the number of private houses that local authorities are renting and subletting as social housing by local authority; the annual cost of renting these houses in each of the years 2016 to 2018 and to date in 2019, by local authority; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [40631/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Housing)

The Government has set out an ambitious set of targets for the delivery of social housing in the period to 2021 in its Rebuilding Ireland Action Plan. A commitment to deliver 50,000 new social housing homes through a range of delivery mechanisms is being supported by a multi-annual Exchequer commitment totaling €6.5 billion over the period of the plan. These targets will be achieved using a combination of building, purchasing and leasing high quality properties to meet the needs of households on local authority waiting lists around the country.

Of the 50,000 social housing homes to be delivered under Rebuilding Ireland, 10,000 are targeted to be leased by local authorities and approved housing bodies under leasing arrangements from a range of different sources.

The Social Housing Current Expenditure Programme (SHCEP) supports this delivery of social housing by providing financial support to local authorities for the leasing of houses and apartments. Dwellings under the scheme come from a number of different sources including private owners, Approved Housing Bodies (AHBs), Part V and the NAMA Special Purpose Vehicle (NARPS).

Long term lease arrangements, including the enhanced lease, of privately owned dwellings can be entered into by either local authorities or AHBs. Under these arrangements the local authority or AHB acts as the landlord to the tenant. Local authorities may also enter into availability arrangements with private owners whereby an owner makes their property available to tenants of the local authority for a defined period. Under this type of arrangement, the owner of the property acts as the landlord to the tenant and performs all the landlord obligations.

Details of the total number of privately owned homes made available to local authorities directly (i.e. not through an AHB) under long term lease or availability arrangements at the end of each of the years 2016 to 2018, and at end Q2 2019, are set out in Tables 1 and 2, together with the associated payments to local authorities. Payments made to local authorities in any given year may include claims relating to the previous year, which were previously unclaimed by the local authority.

Table 1: Total operational dwellings provided under lease or availability agreements between Private Owners and Local Authorities 2016 to End Q2 2019

LA

2016

2017

2018

Up to Q2 2019

Carlow County Council

36

39

42

41

Cavan County Council

16

16

14

15

Clare County Council

206

264

266

275

Cork City Council

61

61

59

58

Cork County Council

7

7

6

4

DLR County Council

20

22

22

22

Donegal County Council

178

180

167

168

Dublin City Council

136

129

137

142

Fingal County Council

144

168

168

181

Galway City Council

163

160

114

109

Galway County Council

40

42

29

28

Kerry County Council

186

233

267

260

Kildare County Council

1

2

19

18

Kilkenny County Council

25

9

25

29

Laois County Council

38

31

30

30

Leitrim County Council

16

15

13

13

Limerick City and County Council

32

36

56

61

Longford County Council

90

92

103

99

Louth County Council

264

268

264

264

Mayo County Council

176

195

155

169

Meath County Council

23

23

24

25

Monaghan County Council

5

5

9

9

Offaly County Council

204

206

207

208

Roscommon County Council

4

4

7

14

Sligo County Council

39

40

41

41

South Dublin County Council

349

369

366

362

Tipperary County Council

361

374

396

395

Waterford City and County Council

67

60

124

148

Westmeath County Council

291

255

291

293

Wexford County Council

105

105

122

123

Wicklow County Council

17

19

17

18

Total Operational

3,300

3,429

3,560

3,622

Table 2: Total amount paid to local authorities in respect of dwellings made available under lease or availability agreements between Private Owners and Local Authorities 2016 to End Q2 2019

LA

2016

2017

2018

Up to Q2 2019

Carlow County Council

€186,271

€277,394

€248,688

€60,870

Cavan County Council

€79,451

€89,272

€84,633

€20,500

Clare County Council

€1,178,967

€1,457,652

€1,835,086

€522,844

Cork City Council

€467,126

€461,881

€361,599

€110,559

Cork County Council

€131,483

€29,774

€23,686

€6,063

DLR County Council

€244,457

€284,885

€346,252

€90,419

Donegal County Council

€792,862

€1,395,061

€1,168,700

€292,679

Dublin City Council

€1,269,382

€1,268,005

€1,706,785

€496,654

Fingal County Council

€1,520,633

€1,818,995

€1,993,851

€607,042

Galway City Council

€1,272,002

€1,319,269

€1,247,258

€298,224

Galway County Council

€144,583

€234,167

€208,867

€55,917

Kerry County Council

€696,287

€1,701,976

€1,735,375

€441,494

Kildare County Council

€64,348

€20,549

€102,296

€0

Kilkenny County Council

€59,459

€50,839

€105,791

€77,208

Laois County Council

€236,738

€229,212

€256,338

€0

Leitrim County Council

€59,592

€63,091

€61,521

€15,850

Limerick City and County Council

€205,119

€238,416

€433,950

€134,407

Longford County Council

€325,517

€440,052

€568,215

€150,702

Louth County Council

€1,898,544

€2,068,027

€2,820,507

€568,893

Mayo County Council

€771,252

€828,874

€934,843

€233,026

Meath County Council

€128,778

€171,590

€148,370

€53,442

Monaghan County Council

€43,260

€28,861

€41,033

€13,618

Offaly County Council

€1,049,212

€1,402,145

€1,256,400

€327,475

Roscommon County Council

€21,998

€24,000

€38,945

€28,392

Sligo County Council

€292,836

€315,754

€349,358

€88,916

South Dublin County Council

€2,985,837

€5,632,023

€4,833,228

€1,241,822

Tipperary County Council

€1,498,150

€2,463,763

€2,155,626

€595,828

Waterford City and County Council

€320,232

€361,156

€851,182

€248,493

Westmeath County Council

€1,564,580

€1,361,235

€1,668,132

€473,656

Wexford County Council

€545,085

€646,277

€777,553

€223,715

Wicklow County Council

€163,343

€173,667

€160,391

€71,022

Total Spend

€20,217,384

€26,857,862

€28,524,459

€7,549,730

Fire Service Staff

Ceisteanna (502)

Michael Healy-Rae

Ceist:

502. Deputy Michael Healy-Rae asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government if he will address a matter (details supplied) regarding the retirement age of retained firefighters; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [40637/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Housing)

As the Deputy outlined, the retirement age for retained firefighters is 55, with provision for an annual extension up to the age of 58, subject to a formal application process, including a compulsory medical assessment. The retirement age for full-time firefighters is, in general, 55.

The retirement ages reflect the legitimate requirement that firefighters should be capable of satisfactorily meeting the physically demanding nature of the role. In this regard, pursuant to the Safety, Health and Welfare at Work Act 1989, every fire authority, as an employer, has a statutory duty to avoid placing employees at unnecessary risk.

The roles of Chief Fire Officer and Assistant Chief Fire Officer are qualitatively different from and, hence, not comparable to that of a firefighter.

In general, any changes to the terms and conditions of employment proposed by either employing organisations or employee representative associations are discussed and negotiated using the established industrial relations processes. I have no plans to review the situation in respect of retained firefighters outside of these well understood and long established processes.

Housing Data

Ceisteanna (503)

Eoin Ó Broin

Ceist:

503. Deputy Eoin Ó Broin asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government if his Department has Part V targets for 2019, 2020 and 2021; and if so, the details of the targets for each of the years referenced. [40704/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Housing)

The Rebuilding Ireland Action Plan for Housing and Homelessness has a target to deliver more than 50,000 new social homes by the end of 2021. This will be achieved through a blend of build, including Part V, acquisition and leasing activity, under programmes led by both local authorities and Approved Housing Bodies (AHBs).

While there are published targets for build, acquisition and leasing under Rebuilding Ireland, the delivery of Part V homes, a sub-programme under build, is ultimately based on the agreement between local authorities and the relevant developers and the subsequent the timing of delivery is largely outside of the control of local authorities. Of the 33,000 homes anticipated to be delivered under Build activity between 2016 and 2021, it was estimated that just over 5,000 would come through Part V agreements.

In 2018, against an expectation of approximately 590, some 841 homes were delivered for social housing under various Part V arrangements. In 2019, of the total build target of 6,545 homes, it is expected that 1,260 may come from Part V. For 2020 and 2021, a slightly higher delivery again is anticipated, but the final delivery will be determined in light of the continued increase in housebuilding generally in each local authority area.

Homeless Persons Supports

Ceisteanna (504)

Eoin Ó Broin

Ceist:

504. Deputy Eoin Ó Broin asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government if he will include an ethnic identifier in the pathway accommodation and support system to include Travellers. [40713/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Housing)

My Department publishes data on a monthly basis outlining the number of homeless persons accommodated in emergency accommodation funded and overseen by housing authorities. These reports are based on data provided by housing authorities and are produced through the Pathway Accommodation & Support System (PASS). The reports are collated on a regional basis and are published on my Department's website.

The monthly homelessness report includes details of individuals, families and the dependants of these families who accessed emergency accommodation during the relevant count week of the month in question. These reports do not provide a breakdown by nationality or ethnic background.

The Dublin Region Homeless Executive (DRHE) is in the process of upgrading PASS and remains on course to go live with this upgraded system in Q1 2020. The feasibility of collecting data on ethnicity is being considered in the context of the legal framework governing data protection.

Housing Adaptation Grant Data

Ceisteanna (505, 506)

Shane Cassells

Ceist:

505. Deputy Shane Cassells asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government the amount of funding allocated to each local authority in each of the years 2016 to 2018 and to date in 2019 for housing adaptation grants in tabular form; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [40721/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Shane Cassells

Ceist:

506. Deputy Shane Cassells asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government the amount of funding drawn down by each local authority in each of the years 2016 to 2018 and to date in 2019 for housing adaptation grants; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [40722/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Housing)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 505 and 506 together.

My Department provides funding to local authorities for the suite of Housing Adaptation Grants for Older People and People with a Disability in respect of private houses, with funding of €71.25 million allocated for 2019. Information on the allocations to each local authority in respect of these grants for 2016 – 2019 is available on my Department’s website at the following links –

For 2016: www.housing.gov.ie/ministers-kelly-coffey-announce-5625-million-euro-improve-homes-older-people-and-people-disability.

For 2017: www.housing.gov.ie/housing/rebuilding-ireland/older-people/minister-coveney-announces-eu598million-improve-homes-older.

For 2018: www.housing.gov.ie/housing/special-housing-needs/minister-english-announces-eu6625-million-funding-improve-homes-older.

For 2019: www.housing.gov.ie/housing/special-housing-needs/older-people/minister-english-announces-eu7125-million-funding-improve.

Information for the years 2016-2018, showing the numbers of grants funded and the amounts provided to each local authority, is also available on my Department’s website at the following link: www.housing.gov.ie/housing/statistics/social-and-affordble/other-local-authority-housing-scheme-statistics.

The following table contains details of the 2019 exchequer funding drawn down by local authorities for the grants up to the end of September this year. These amounts do not necessarily represent what each local authority has spent, as funding may have been spent but not yet claimed from my Department. Also, the amounts shown for exchequer draw down, are topped up by each local authority's own 20% contribution.

Local Authority

Exchequer Drawdown to 30 Sept 2019

Carlow

€843,302

Cavan

€358,288

Clare

€1,180,925

Cork

€2,298,581

Cork City

€311,419

Donegal

€691,069

Dublin City

€5,178,767

Dun Laoghaire/Rathdown

€812,433

Fingal

€1,246,986

Galway

€820,612

Galway City

€589,903

Kerry

€1,321,883

Kildare

€885,248

Kilkenny

€1,178,489

Laois

€182,628

Leitrim

€131,308

Limerick

€1,625,195

Longford

€236,859

Louth

€280,065

Mayo

€1,120,838

Meath

€1,349,935

Monaghan

€1,147,345

Offaly

€258,748

Roscommon

€435,669

Sligo

€693,225

South Dublin

€1,449,098

Tipperary

€1,863,081

Waterford

€758,812

Westmeath

€558,153

Wexford

€1,403,706

Wicklow

€530,610

Over the course of each year, my Department works closely with all local authorities, to monitor spend and to achieve a full drawdown of the available funding. As the year progresses, any underspend is redistributed to those local authorities with high levels of grant activity who sought additional funding.

Interdepartmental Working Groups

Ceisteanna (507)

Catherine Murphy

Ceist:

507. Deputy Catherine Murphy asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government if the steering group for the separation of Irish Water from a group (details supplied) has presented proposals regarding the way in which the separation should occur; the number of times the steering group has met regarding the matter; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [40723/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Housing)

Work is progressing on implementing the Government’s decision that Irish Water would become a standalone publicly owned, commercial regulated utility separated from the Ervia Group. An Inter-Departmental Steering Group on the Separation of Irish Water from the Ervia Group has been established and has held 4 meetings to date. The Group, whose work is ongoing, is considering all the legislative and administrative actions required to give effect to the Government decision.

Regeneration Projects

Ceisteanna (508)

Willie O'Dea

Ceist:

508. Deputy Willie O'Dea asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government the reason there is building of expensive private homes on public lands at a location (details supplied) in view of the fact the existing cost rental mode of building being piloted at another location could provide affordable and secure public homes to low and middle income earners in Dublin city; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [40736/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Housing)

The development of publicly owned lands for housing remains a priority for this Government, and my Department is working closely with all local authorities to support the development of their sites. Decisions regarding particular developments and any tenure mix for new housing on local authority land are, in the first instance, a matter for each local authority, including its elected members.

Mixed-tenure developments are an important policy objective in Rebuilding Ireland and uphold the principle of sustainable mixed communities. These developments also provide an opportunity to see major sites developed more quickly, and integrated into existing communities and areas.

With regard to the O’Devaney Gardens site, I understand that an exhaustive process has been undertaken over the last number of years to allow Dublin City Council to identify the current delivery model as the most effective way to develop the site, from a mixed tenure perspective and in terms of financial viability. Following a decision by Council members, the Council's intention is to provide 768 new homes, comprising a tenure mix which includes 411 private homes, 192 social homes and 165 homes which will be sold at prices which are discounted on open market values to make them more affordable.

While the final price points on the discounted homes have yet to be fully determined and are being put to the elected members for consideration, I understand that it is intended that the average price of new homes will be in the region of €300,000 and prices will not exceed €320,000. Such provision would obviously allow many households and families, who would not otherwise be able to do so, to purchase homes and establish themselves within the community of their choice in this city centre location.

In relation to St Michael’s Estate, this is one of two Cost Rental ‘pathfinder’ projects (the other being Enniskerry Road in Sandyford). A core objective of the Cost Rental model is to offer more moderate income households the choice of a more affordable and stable form of rental tenure. Over the longer term, as homes are delivered at scale, it is envisaged that cost rental will have a stabilising effect on the broader private rented market. The current tenure mix proposed by Dublin City Council for St. Michael’s Estate is 30% social housing and 70% cost rental. While the proposal for the site development has not yet been brought to a conclusion, it is understood that the aforementioned tenure mix will remain over the longer term.

In tandem with these pilot projects, my Department is developing a national policy approach to Cost Rental as a new form of tenure for Ireland. This requires that serious consideration is given to the many delivery options possible, and the challenges posed, in order to ensure that a coherent Cost Rental model can be delivered at a scale and in a manner that will have the desired positive impact on the Irish housing sector.

To this end, I have convened a working group within my Department, in conjunction with the Land Development Agency, the Housing Agency, and other expert bodies. This group is developing the policy framework for the broader Cost Rental model and to consider how a sustainable financing structure can be established to then commence delivery of units at the scale required to get this new category of housing off the ground. The work of this group is being assisted by a consultancy and research support that is being undertaken by the European Investment Bank on our behalf.

The selection of further sites for Cost Rental consideration will be informed largely by the financial and operational model that will emerge from this evidence building. Given the 30% affordability requirement that the Government has agreed must be met on State lands that are to be utilised for housing, including those to be brought forward by the Land Development Agency, I anticipate that Cost Rental will have an important role to play in the development of these lands.