Homeless Persons Data

Ceisteanna (322, 323)

Niamh Smyth

Ceist:

322. Deputy Niamh Smyth asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government the number of persons in emergency accommodation in counties Cavan, Monaghan and Meath; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [42682/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Niamh Smyth

Ceist:

323. Deputy Niamh Smyth asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government the number of persons registered as homeless by county in tabular form; when they were registered as homeless; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [42701/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Housing)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 322 and 323 together.

Addressing homelessness is an absolute priority for the Government.  Rebuilding Ireland, the Government’s Action Plan on Housing and Homelessness, is designed to increase the delivery of housing across all tenures to help individuals and families meet their housing needs and address homelessness. The plan focuses on increasing the delivery of social housing, with a target of delivering 50,000 social housing homes and 87,000 other social housing supports by 2021.  In 2018, 8,000 new social homes were delivered nationally and this year, a further 10,000 new social homes will be delivered.   Budget 2020 has increased funding available to local authorities to provide homeless accommodation and related services to €166m, an increase of €20m on this years budget of €146m.

My Department publishes a monthly report on homelessness. The monthly report is based on data provided by housing authorities and produced through the Pathway Accommodation & Support System (PASS).  The report captures details of individuals utilising State-funded emergency accommodation arrangements that are overseen by housing authorities. Official homeless reports are published on my Department's website on a monthly basis and can be accessed using the following link: http://www.housing.gov.ie/housing/homelessness/other/homelessness-data.

These reports do not contain data relating to when a person registered as homeless.  While these monthly reports include a breakdown of adults at county level, details in relation to dependants are only available on a regional level in my Department; however, further information in relation to dependants may be obtained from individual housing authorities.

The following table sets out the numbers of adults and dependants in emergency accommodation in August 2019, the most recent month for which data is available.

Region

Dependants (by region only)

Local authority

Adults (by local authority)

    Dublin

2,850

    Dublin (DRHE)

4,312

    Mid-East

182

    Kildare

184

 

 

    Meath

111

 

 

    Wicklow

32

    Midlands

49

    Laois

16

 

 

    Longford

7

 

 

    Offaly

40

 

 

    Westmeath

35

    Mid-West

141

    Clare

68

 

 

    Limerick

255

    North-East

40

    Cavan

8

 

 

    Louth

170

 

 

    Monaghan

1

    North-West

20

    Donegal

18

 

 

    Leitrim

 2

 

 

    Sligo

31

    South-East

57

    Carlow

23

 

 

    Kilkenny

59

 

 

    Tipperary

34

 

 

    Waterford

112

 

 

    Wexford

38

    South-West

309

    Cork

419

 

 

    Kerry

164

    West

200

    Galway

311

 

 

    Mayo

33

 

 

    Roscommon

7

Housing Assistance Payment Administration

Ceisteanna (324, 325)

Catherine Murphy

Ceist:

324. Deputy Catherine Murphy asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government if additional staffing resources have been requested for the HAP shared services centre section in Limerick; if his attention has been drawn to a substantial backlog of up to ten weeks in processing payments to landlords from submission to receipt of payment; his plans to address the backlog by providing additional resources; when this will occur; the additional homeless measures being undertaken to mitigate the delays; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [42744/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Catherine Murphy

Ceist:

325. Deputy Catherine Murphy asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government the budget provided for the HAP shared services centre for 2019; the amount drawn down; the estimated but not as yet approved for payment amount; if there is a shortfall, the way in which this will be addressed; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [42748/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Housing)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 324 and 325 together.

Limerick City and County Council provide a highly effective transactional-shared service on behalf of all HAP local authorities. The HAP Shared Services Centre (HAP SSC) manages all HAP related rental transactions for the tenant, local authority and landlord. Once a HAP application has been received and confirmed as valid by the relevant local authority, it is then processed by the HAP SSC. On average, HAP applications are processed by the HAP Shared Service Centre within 2 working days of receipt. Any rental payment arising for a given month will then be made to a landlord on the last Wednesday of that month.

HAP is funded through a combination of Exchequer monies and tenant differential rents collected in respect of HAP tenancies. Budget 2019 has increased the Exchequer funding for the HAP scheme to €422 million. This will allow for the continued support of existing HAP households and also enable the additional 16,760 households targeted under Rebuilding Ireland to be supported by HAP in 2019. 

The Exchequer allocation also provides for the recoupment to the HAP SCC the costs associated with the administration of the HAP scheme. HAP SSC staff and administrative costs are recouped quarterly.  The HAP SSC currently have 74 staff. Sanction requests for additional staffing resources were received in Quarter 1 2019.  These were approved by my Department; no additional requests have been received. 

Under the HAP scheme, eligible households source their own accommodation in the private rented sector and the tenancy agreement is between the tenant and the landlord.   The HAP application form comes in two parts, Section A to be completed by the applicant tenant and Section B to be completed by the landlord or agent. An application for HAP will only be accepted by the local authority when both Section A and Section B are completed, signed and returned, along with the required supporting documentation.  Any delay in tenants and landlords supplying this information will impact on the processing time of the HAP application.  The earliest date a HAP payment to the landlord will apply from is the date a complete and valid HAP application has been received by the local authority.

HAP application processing times within local authorities may vary. Once a HAP application has been received and confirmed as valid by the relevant local authority, it is entered on the system by the local authority and then submitted for processing and payment by the HAP Shared Service Centre.  If there are delays at the processing  stage within a local authority, payment to the landlord will be backdated to the date on which a complete and valid application form was received by the local authority.  The landlord is therefore not penalised for any delay.

To support local authorities in the implementation of the HAP scheme my Department provides a once off administrative payment of €150 per HAP household to all local authorities.  This administrative payment recognises the resources required to manage the HAP process.  The payment is made directly to local authorities twice yearly, to offset HAP staffing and administrative costs. 

At the end of Q2 2019, there were over 48,000 households having their housing needs met via HAP and some 28,000 separate landlords and agents in receipt of monthly HAP payments. My Department continues to keep the operation of the HAP scheme under review.

Departmental Correspondence

Ceisteanna (326)

Alan Kelly

Ceist:

326. Deputy Alan Kelly asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government if he will provide all correspondence between him and-or his office and-or his advisers and-or the Secretary General and-or the office of the Secretary General and the Departments of Finance and Public Expenditure and Reform in September 2019 and to 10 October 2019. [42778/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Housing)

The Freedom of Information process is the usual route for access to specific records such as these and is availed of regularly by public representatives. However, I am keen to facilitate the request in so far as possible and, while the information cannot be provided within the normal timeframe, my Department will revert to the Deputy as soon as possible.

An Bord Pleanála Data

Ceisteanna (327)

Éamon Ó Cuív

Ceist:

327. Deputy Éamon Ó Cuív asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government the percentage of planning appeals made against local authority decisions to An Bord Pleanála that are decided within the four month statutory guideline; the steps he plans to take to increase this percentage, including through new legislation; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [42792/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Housing)

Under section 126 of the Planning and Development Act 2000, as amended, An Bord Pleanála (the Board) has a statutory objective to determine planning appeals within 18 weeks of receipt of the appeal. Where the Board does not consider it possible or appropriate to reach a decision within 18 weeks (e.g. because of the particular complexities of a case or the requirement to hold an oral hearing), it will inform the parties of the reasons for this, and will indicate when it intends to make its decision.

In 2018, the Board disposed of 39% of planning appeals within the statutory objective period of 18 weeks. This was down from 64% in 2017, mainly due to the impact of the transition to the new Plean-IT system and an increased case-load. However, it should be noted that the total number of appeals disposed of by the Board in 2018 was 2,158, a 24% increase on the previous year. 

For 2019, the Board has set a target to decide 60% - 70% of planning appeals within the statutory objective period. As of end September 2019, the compliance rate for determining planning appeals within the statutory objective period stood at 67%, up significantly from 38% at the same time in 2018, which is in line with the Performance Delivery Agreement target.

My Department has worked closely with the Board over the last year or so on a range of measures aimed at increasing its compliance rate with the statutory objective period, including the appointment of additional Board members and the provision of additional resources. Ongoing and planned recruitment processes will see staffing levels increase further in the months ahead. 

I am satisfied with the impact these measures appear to be having and as such, I have no plans currently to introduce new legislation aimed specifically at increasing the Board’s compliance rate.

My Department will continue to liaise closely with the Board to ensure that it has appropriate resources to maintain and improve its compliance rate going forward, in line with its Performance Delivery Agreement target.

An Bord Pleanála Appeals

Ceisteanna (328)

Éamon Ó Cuív

Ceist:

328. Deputy Éamon Ó Cuív asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government his plans to change the law to ensure that all those lodging appeals to An Bord Pleanála can be clearly identified and that appeals in which there is no verification that the person exists at the address given can be automatically rejected; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [42793/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Housing)

Legislative provision already exists to ensure appeals to An Bord Pleanála can identify appellants and gives the Board the discretion to dismiss appeals.

Appeals to the Board are made under section 37 of the Planning and Development Act, 2000, as amended (the 2000 Act), where an appeal is lodged the applicant must provide a name and address and pay the prescribed fee for the appeal. The appellants name is published by the Board on the weekly lists on their website www.pleanala.ie/lists/2019/new/index.htm, therefore the appellant is clearly identified.

Appellants to the Board must be a developer (first party) who sought the original planning decision from the planning authority or a third party who has made a submission on the original planning application to the planning authority regarding a proposed development. The process is set out on the Boards website www.pleanala.ie/appeals/appeal_guide.htm.

The procedure for making submissions to the planning authority in respect of an application for planning permission are set out under article 29(1) of the Planning and Development Regulations, 2001, as amended (the 2001 Regulations), and requires the person making the submission to state their name and address and pay a prescribed fee. Under Article 29(2) of the 2001 Regulations the Planning Authority shall acknowledge receipt of the submission with a document in the format of Form No.3 of Schedule 3 of the regulations. This form is an important document and is required to be produced when making an appeal to the Board and provides a level of verification for Planning Appeals.

The Board may, in its absolute discretion, hold an oral hearing under section 134 of the Act to determine whether to dismiss an appeal in the below circumstances. The Board at its discretion can compel appellants to appear at the Oral hearing to make submissions.

Section 138 of the 2000 Act provides that the Board may dismiss an appeal at its absolute discretion where, having considered the grounds of appeal or any other matter to which, by virtue of the Act, the Board may have regard in dealing with or determining the appeal, the  Board is of the opinion that the appeal or referral is vexatious, frivolous or without substance or foundation, or is made with the sole intention of delaying the development or the intention of securing the payment of money, gifts, consideration or other inducement by any person.

An Bord Pleanála Data

Ceisteanna (329)

Éamon Ó Cuív

Ceist:

329. Deputy Éamon Ó Cuív asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government the percentage of appeals relating to non-residential properties in the past two years by province in which a decision of grant by the local authority was changed to a refusal, a decision of refusal was changed to grant and in which the decision stayed the same, respectively; his plans to change the law relating to the operation of An Bord Pleanála based on the evidence of these statistics; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [42794/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Housing)

Since the establishment of An Bord Pleanála (the Board) in 1977, planning legislation has clearly assigned final responsibility for decisions on planning appeals to the Board. The Board can decide to confirm, vary or reverse the planning authority’s decision.

The specific information requested is not available. However, the Board provides information in its Annual Reports on the number of planning authority decisions (both granted and refused) across all development categories which, when appealed, were either confirmed, varied or reversed. There is no specific break down available, for non-residential properties or otherwise,  outlining where a decision to grant by a planning authority was changed to a refusal, or where a decision to refuse was changed to a grant. In 2017, the Board confirmed the decision of the planning authority in 22% of appeals received. In 2018, this figure rose slightly to 24%.  

The information in this regard for 2019 is not yet available; this will be included in the Board's 2019 Annual Report. The information and other related statistics in respect of previous years are publicly available in the Board's Annual Reports which can be accessed at the following link: http://www.pleanala.ie/publications/index.htm.

Arrangements have been put in place by all bodies under the aegis of my Department to facilitate the provision of information directly to members of the Oireachtas. This provides a speedy, efficient and cost effective system to address queries directly to the relevant bodies. The contact email address for An Bord Pleanála is Oireachtasqueries@pleanala.ie.

I have no plans to amend the legislation regarding the operation of An Bord Pleanála at this time. 

Planning Issues

Ceisteanna (330)

Éamon Ó Cuív

Ceist:

330. Deputy Éamon Ó Cuív asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government his plans to change the law to ensure that a person who has an authorised development can apply for retention planning even in cases in which an environmental screening or appropriate assessment would have been required if planning for the unauthorised development had been applied for in the first case; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [42796/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Housing)

A person that has an authorised development, which is authorised by way of a planning permission, does not require retention planning permission for that specific development. Retention permission is only required for unauthorised development, such as in circumstances where a development was, or is being, carried out without the required planning permission. 

In cases where a development requiring environmental impact assessment (EIA), screening for EIA or Appropriate Assessment (AA) does not hold the requisite planning permission, and is therefore deemed unauthorised in this respect, a person can seek to regularise such a development by way of the substitute consent procedure as set out in Part XA of the Planning and Development Act 2000 (as amended).

The substitute consent procedure was inserted into the 2000 Act, following the Judgment of the European Court of Justice in Case C 215/06, which found that the provisions of the Planning and Development Act 2000 (the 2000 Act) which permitted applications for retention permission for existing developments requiring environmental impact assessment (EIA), were contrary to EU environmental law. 

As a result of this Judgment, the 2000 Act was amended at section 34(12) to provide that planning authorities cannot accept applications for retention permission in respect of unauthorised development where that authority decides that if an application for permission had been made in respect of that development before it was commenced, it would have required a screening determination as to whether EIA was required, and/or EIA or Appropriate Assessment (AA) to be carried out. 

The Judgment in Case C 215/06 did recognise that EU law does not preclude the regularisation of unauthorised developments requiring EIA in exceptional circumstances, provided that this does not facilitate the evasion of EU environmental obligations. In this context, Part XA, as inserted into the 2000 Act, sets out the procedure for applications for substitute consent, which is a form of retrospective development consent. The substitute consent process involves the preparation of a remedial environmental impact assessment report or a remedial Natura impact statement, or both as appropriate. 

It is open to any individual who has not already been directed to do so by a planning authority, to consider seeking leave from An Bord Pleanála under section 177C of the 2000 Act to apply for substitute consent.  Section 177D(2) of the 2000 Act sets out the matters to which the Board must have regard to in deciding to grant leave to apply for substitute consent, which includes that exceptional circumstances exist such that the Board considers it appropriate to allow the opportunity to regularise the development by way of substitute consent.

Local Authority Housing

Ceisteanna (331)

Éamon Ó Cuív

Ceist:

331. Deputy Éamon Ó Cuív asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government if a circular has issued to local authorities directing them not to build local authority housing in small villages and towns in sparsely populated rural areas such as CLÁR areas due to the fact they would be too car dependent, particularly in circumstances in which there is a demand for such housing; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [42797/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Housing)

No specific instruction or Circular has recently issued from my Department to local authorities regarding social housing provision in rural areas. As housing authorities, local authorities are responsible for the identification of the social housing need in their area and for the development of appropriate responses to the need identified.

The approach to providing social housing 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 at the following link: www.housing.gov.ie/sites/default/files/migrated-files/en/Publications/DevelopmentandHousing/Housing/FileDownLoad%2C1979%2Cen.pdf.

Local authorities now have substantial pipelines of new social housing projects, ranging from larger scale developments to single rural dwellings. Details can be seen in the quarterly Social Housing Construction Status Reports published by my Department. The most recently available report sets out the position at end quarter 2 2019 and is available on the Rebuilding Ireland website at the following link: https://rebuildingireland.ie/news/minister-murphy-publishes-social-housing-construction-status-report-for-q2-2019-2/.

I am pleased to see the progress being made on projects, building on what has been already delivered, but I am keen that all local authorities further accelerate their programmes and I have assured them that the necessary funding is available to support their work in this regard.

Home Loan Scheme

Ceisteanna (332)

Noel Grealish

Ceist:

332. Deputy Noel Grealish asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government if there is a provision in legislation to allow for persons who owned a home previously but no longer own it due to a marital separation to avail of the Rebuilding Ireland home loan or the help-to-buy-incentive; if not, if such changes to these schemes are being considered; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [42802/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Housing)

The Rebuilding Ireland Home Loan Scheme enables credit-worthy first-time buyers to access sustainable mortgage lending to purchase new or second-hand properties in a suitable price range, where they cannot obtain sufficient mortgage finance from a commercial lender. 

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

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.   

The Help-to-Buy incentive is a matter for the Minister for Finance.

Social and Affordable Housing Provision

Ceisteanna (333)

Noel Grealish

Ceist:

333. Deputy Noel Grealish asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government when an affordable housing scheme will be announced; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [42803/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Housing)

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.  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 finalized, and before affordable dwellings are made available for purchase under the scheme, a programme of communication will be undertaken by my Department and local authorities.

In order to support the delivery of 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 some 6,200 affordable homes. To date, two calls for proposals have been made under the SSF, resulting in funding of €127 million, in support of 35 projects in 14 local authority areas, being allocated for infrastructure works on sites that will support the delivery of almost 3,200 homes. Of these 35 projects, two of them are in Galway; one in Galway City Council and one in Galway County Council with the potential to support the delivery of a cumulative total of 125 affordable homes.

Details of all SSF funded infrastructure projects can be found on the Rebuilding Ireland website at the following links:  

https://rebuildingireland.ie/news/minister-murphy-approves-10-local-authority-sites-affordable-housing-serviced-sites-fund/.

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

The overall cost and the timing of delivery for these projects is contingent upon the completion of design, planning and procurement in the first instance, and local authorities are working to achieve delivery as quickly as possible.

In addition to making discounted homes available for purchase, the Government is also committed to the development of ‘Cost Rental’ in Ireland. Under the Cost Rental model, rents cover the cost of delivering, managing, and maintaining the homes only, less both the profit margin seen in the private rental sector and any financial supports provided by the State/local authorities.  With the resulting rents significantly below market levels, this would mean that many households on moderate incomes will have access to a more affordable and stable form of rental tenure than would otherwise have been the case.

In order to drive delivery, two early mover pilot projects are being advanced, one at Enniskerry Road, in Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown, and the other at Emmet Road in Inchicore. In tandem with these pilot projects, my Department is developing a national policy approach to Cost Rental for Ireland to ensure future projects can be delivered at a scale and in a manner that will have the desired positive impact on the Irish housing sector. 

These new schemes are complemented by other key Government affordability initiatives, including the Rebuilding Ireland home loan and the Help to Buy Scheme.  In addition, the Land Development Agency's initial portfolio of sites will have the potential to deliver 3,000 affordable homes and the Local Infrastructure Housing Activation Fund (LIHAF) will support more than 2,300 affordable homes on mainly publicly owned lands, while 5,600 further homes will benefit from a LIHAF related cost reduction, some of which have already come on stream.

In overall terms, programmes are in place under which some 18,000 affordable homes or homes with a LIHAF related reduction will be delivered, with some 15,000 households already supported under the Rebuilding Ireland Home Loan or the Help to Buy Scheme.

Local Authority Staff Data

Ceisteanna (334)

Eoin Ó Broin

Ceist:

334. Deputy Eoin Ó Broin asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government the detail of requests from local authorities for additional resources and staff to deal with the enforcement of the new short-term letting regulations; the amount granted to each local authority; and the date from which those resources can be drawn down in tabular form. [42817/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Housing)

My Department has been in regular contact with relevant planning authorities regarding the implementation of the new short-term letting legislation, both before and subsequent to its commencement on 1 July 2019.  

In order for the new legislation to have the desired effect and achieve its objective of returning much-needed accommodation to the long-term rental market, it is essential that relevant planning authorities adopt a pro-active approach to enforcement. This will add to the planning enforcement workload of the affected planning authorities, necessitating dedicated additional staffing and complementary resources.

In this regard, my Department wrote to planning authorities on 4 June 2019 seeking estimated resource funding requirements for the implementation and enforcement of the new provisions, to cover the period until the end of 2021. My Department wrote again to planning authorities on 2 July and 26 September seeking new or revised estimates following my designation of additional Rent Pressure Zones in certain parts of the country, which extended the application of the short-term letting provisions to these areas. The additional resources sought primarily comprise additional enforcement staff, but also include, inter alia, associated legal costs and IT costs.

Since then, further communication has taken place between my Department and all relevant planning authorities seeking clarification and refinement of the resourcing requests, as well as in relation to the practical implementation of the short-term letting provisions. 

Additional resources have been provided in Budget 2020 to support local authorities in the implementation and enforcement of the short-term letting provisions. My Department is engaging currently with the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform in relation to securing the required sanctions to provide funding to local authorities in this regard. Subject to receipt of the aforementioned sanction, local authorities will be able to submit claims for recoupment of eligible expenditure in the latter part of 2019 and on a regular basis covering the period until the end of 2021. 

The following table shows the details of the requests received from each relevant planning authority, including the estimated number of staff required, and the total funding requested to the end of 2021 to support the implementation and enforcement of the short-term letting regulations.

Local Authority

Staff requested

Total funding requested

Carlow County Council

2

€279,434.80

Cork City Council

3

€346,100.76

Cork County Council

3

€320,372.00

Dublin City Council

13

€1,810,592.33

Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council

4

€464,834.00

Fingal County Council

4

€615,337.00

Galway City Council

3

€471,116.00

Galway County Council

4

€542,500.00

Kildare County Council

4

€513,455.25

Kilkenny County Council

2

€331,852.00

Laois County Council

2

€195,000.00

Limerick City & County Council

1.5

€186,170.25

Louth County Council

2

€254,595.00

Meath County Council

0

€0.00

South Dublin County Council

3

€380,060.00

Waterford City & County Council

3

€482,517.00

Westmeath County Council

2

€157,220.00

Wexford County Council

3

€311,000.00

Wicklow County Council

3

€396,487.59

Capital Expenditure Programme

Ceisteanna (335, 336)

Barry Cowen

Ceist:

335. Deputy Barry Cowen asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government the number of capital projects that cost €100 million or more in the past five years; the cost of outside consultants for each of the projects costing €100 million or more; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [42871/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Barry Cowen

Ceist:

336. Deputy Barry Cowen asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government the number of capital projects anticipated to commence in the next five years that cost €100 million or more; the expected cost of external consultants for each project; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [42887/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Housing)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 335 and 336 together.

My Department has not, either directly or through local authorities or bodies under our aegis, funded any individual projects in the past five years that cost €100 million or more. Neither does it anticipate having any such projects funded either directly or through local authorities over the next five years.

In respect of bodies under the aegis of the Department, it is expected that water services projects of this quantum may be funded through Irish Water in the next five years. Irish Water has established a team to deal with queries from Oireachtas members on issues arising in relation to Irish Water's activities.  The team may be contacted via email to oireachtasmembers@water.ie or by telephone on 1890 578 578.  Alternatively, Irish Water provides full details of their projects and plans to improve water and wastewater services on their website.  The details can be accessed at the following link: www.water.ie/projects-plans/.

Wildlife Protection

Ceisteanna (337)

Robert Troy

Ceist:

337. Deputy Robert Troy asked the Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht the actions being undertaken or planned by her Department to protect native Irish species which may be currently under threat. [42677/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Culture)

My Department is responsible for implementing the Wildlife Acts 1976 to 2018, the primary legislation underpinning the protection of biodiversity and nature in Ireland. The Wildlife Acts afford protection to a range of habitats and species and provide for regulation and control of activities that impinge on biodiversity, such as hunting and trade.

The other main instruments provided for are the designation of Special Protection Areas (SPA) aimed at the protection of threatened species of birds and Special Areas of Conservation (SAC) aimed at protecting other animal species and habitats.

My Department is also responsible for developing and publishing Ireland's National Biodiversity Action Plan. The most recent Plan (Ireland's 3rd) was published in October 2017 and includes a number of actions aimed at assisting local authorities throughout the country in their efforts to protect and conserve biodiversity in their areas. Local authorities undertake much valuable work in this sphere and several have produced local Biodiversity Action Plans which are an important element in the overall approach to halting biodiversity loss and protect native species and their habitats.

My Department's National Parks and Wildlife Service will continue to monitor and protect biodiversity through the implementation of the existing legislative framework and in particular will continue to protect and enhance the habitat and species within the designated European Sites. These comprise 439 Special Areas of Conservation (SAC) and 154 Special Protection Areas (SPA).

My Department advises on planning, forestry and EPA licence applications nationally. It also engages in wildlife surveys and monitoring, carries out stakeholder liaison and maintains its educational and awareness raising role with respect to vulnerable species and habitats. My Department also has a remit to comment on a variety of licences under the Wildlife Acts with the aim of helping to protect biodiversity.

In support of the work carried out by local authorities, I have made a commitment in the coming years to double the funding my Department makes available for local Heritage and Biodiversity Officers to implement biodiversity actions at local level and to tackle invasive species. A pilot grant scheme was introduced in 2018 to assist local authority led biodiversity projects and I am pleased that we have extended this scheme in 2019.

I look forward to local authorities using the funding available for projects aimed at tackling invasive alien species in their areas. Invasive alien species are a significant threat to our biodiversity and can also have significant adverse effects in terms of the cost involved in implementing eradication or management measures. I want therefore to enable locally led works and also to raise awareness around invasive alien species and biodiversity matters more generally.

My Department is also preparing legislation to implement the EU IAS Regulation and this new legislation will strengthen and update existing legislative provisions around the management and control of invasive alien species in Ireland. This is another important measure to protect native species.

Ireland’s Article 17 Report was submitted by my Department to the European Commission in April 2019.

In Ireland, 85% of habitats are reported as being in Unfavourable status. The main drivers are agricultural practices which negatively impact over 70% of habitats, particularly ecologically unsuitable grazing, abandonment and pollution. The Unfavourable status of many habitats is not surprising as this is the reason they have been listed on the Directive.

My Department is engaged in a range of targeted activities to address these issues at regional, national and EU level, and also liaises with other departments, particularly the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, to implement policy and practices which will help tackle the drivers of biodiversity loss.

The status of species is somewhat better: 57% assessed as Favourable and 30% assessed as being in Unfavourable status, with 72% demonstrating stable or improving trends while just 15% demonstrated on-going declining trends. Progress is being made and a number of species such as bats, otter, pine marten and grey seal are doing well.

Recognising the need for a coherent cross-sectoral response to the biodiversity crisis, earlier this year I announced our 'Seeds for Nature’, a range of commitments to be undertaken by public authorities and other stakeholders to drive implementation of actions in the Plan.

Biodiversity underpins all aspects of our lives and society. Halting biodiversity loss is not simply a matter for a single agency or department. However, my Department is the lead for implementation of biodiversity policy in Ireland and takes this responsibility very seriously and will continue to work across a range of areas, engaging across sectors, to tackle biodiversity loss.

Departmental Correspondence

Ceisteanna (338)

Alan Kelly

Ceist:

338. Deputy Alan Kelly asked the Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht if she will provide a copy of all correspondence between her and-or her office and-or her advisers and the National Parks and Wildlife Service to date in 2019. [42783/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Culture)

The National Parks and Wildlife Service is an integral part of the Heritage Division of my Department with a wide ranging remit. The compilation and provision of copies of all correspondence between me and or my office and or my advisers and the National Parks and Wildlife Service to date in 2019 will involve a very significant amount of time, resources and work.

If the Deputy would like to provide me or my office with details in regard to a particular topic, my officials and I will endeavour to provide him with copies of the relevant correspondence.

Maoiniú Údarás na Gaeltachta

Ceisteanna (339)

Éamon Ó Cuív

Ceist:

339. D'fhiafraigh Deputy Éamon Ó Cuív den Aire Cultúir, Oidhreachta agus Gaeltachta an gcuirfear tuilleadh airgid ar fáil d’Údarás na Gaeltachta, más ga, chun a chinntiú nach mbeidh aon mhoill ar chur chun cinn Pháirc na Mara i gCill Chiaráin, má fhaightear cead pleanála ina leith; agus an ndéanfaidh sí ráiteas ina thaobh. [42795/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Culture)

Mar is eol don Teachta, tá obair shuntasach ar siúl ag Údarás na Gaeltachta i réiteach na staidéir timpeallachta cuí don togra seo agus táthar ag súil iad sin a fhoilsiú don phobal sna seachtainí seo romhainn. Ag an am céanna, tuigim go bhfuil obair mhór déanta acu ar iarratas pleanála a réiteach don togra a chuimsíonn leagan amach na páirce agus ar nithe ábhartha eile a bheidh ag teastáil chun páirc nuálaíochta mara den scoth a thógáil. In thaobh sin, tuigim go mbeidh ag chumas Údarás na Gaeltacht an t-iarratas pleanála a chur faoi bhráid Comhairle Chontae na Gaillimhe roimh na Nollag.

Maidir le cúrsaí airgid, cuirfear sonraí maidir leis an tsoláthar a bheidh ar fáil do Údarás na Gaeltachta ar fáil sna Meastacháin Athbhreithnithe do 2020 - a fhoilseofar roimh dheireadh na bliana. In thaobh sin áfach, agus mar a fógraíodh sa Cháináisnéis an tseachtain seo caite, gheobhaidh an tÚdarás leithdháileadh breise caipitil de €1m i 2020 chun an leithdháileadh ar bhun-chaipiteal a thabhairt suas go dtí €10m, méadú de bhreis agus 11% le hais 2019.

Ina theannta sin, beidh teacht ag Údarás na Gaeltachta ar mhaoiniú breise ó chistí éagsúla ón Roinn Gnó, Fiontair agus Nuálaíochta sa chás go dtarlóidh Breatimeacht gan ord gan eagar.

Ar ndóigh, ós rud é gur eagraíocht neamhspleách reachtúil í Údarás na Gaeltachta, tuigfidh an Teachta gur faoin eagraíocht féin atá sé breithniú a dhéanamh ar chonas is fearr is féidir leas a bhaint as an soláthar breise sin i gcomhthéacs na gcúramaí atá sainithe di, lena n-áirítear forbairt Páirc na Mara.

Ar deireadh, ní miste dom a mheabhrú don Teachta, go bhfuil maoiniú caipitil de €2m faighte ag togra gaolmhar do Pháirc na Mara cheanna féin, MICD Páirc na Mara, comhfhiontar idir Údarás na Gaeltachta, Ollscoil na hÉireann Gaillimh agus Institiúid Teicneolaíochta na Gaillimhe – Mhaigh Eo, chun ionad nuálaíochta agus forbartha mara a fhorbairt ar Pháirc na Mara. Is faoin gCiste Forbartha Réigiúnach a ceadaíodh an tacaíocht sin i 2019.

Capital Expenditure Programme

Ceisteanna (340, 341)

Barry Cowen

Ceist:

340. Deputy Barry Cowen asked the Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht the number of capital projects that cost €100 million or more in the past five years; the cost of outside consultants for each of the projects costing €100 million or more; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [42864/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Barry Cowen

Ceist:

341. Deputy Barry Cowen asked the Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht the number of capital projects anticipated to commence in the next five years that cost €100 million or more; the expected cost of external consultants for each project; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [42880/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Culture)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 340 and 341 together.

As indicated to the House in response to Dáil Question No. 658 of 1st October last, no capital projects completed by Department over the last 5 years have been valued at €100m or more.

I am also advised that my Department has no plans to undertake any capital projects for which exchequer funding greater than €100m is envisaged within the next 5 years.