Departmental Expenditure

Ceisteanna (326)

Barry Cowen

Ceist:

326. Deputy Barry Cowen asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the amount spent on public relations, promotion and advertising for the National Development Plan 2018-2027 and Project Ireland 2040 since its publication in February 2018 by category (details supplied) in tabular form; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [48123/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Employment)

My Department has not incurred any expenditure on public relations, promotion and advertising in respect of the National Development Plan 2018-2027 and Project Ireland 2040 since its publication in February 2018.

I trust this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.

Departmental Expenditure

Ceisteanna (327)

Jack Chambers

Ceist:

327. Deputy Jack Chambers asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the amount spent on bottled water and disposable coffee cups by her Department to date in 2019; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [48189/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Employment)

The Department has two contracts through the Office of Government Procurement (OGP) for the provision of drinking water. One contract is for mains-fed water coolers; the other provides for 9 litre bottle-fed coolers where mains-fed coolers are not an option. The 9 litre water containers are reusable and are collected with each new delivery. Following the Government decision to end the purchasing of single-use plastic, the Department has issued staff with individual reusable water bottles for use with these water-coolers.

The Department does not purchase disposable coffee cups but rather provides china, glasses and cutlery for meetings and events.

The spend on water coolers to the end of October 2019 is as follows:

- 9 litre reusable container water contract - €25,918

- Mains-fed contract - €25,652.

Freedom of Information Data

Ceisteanna (328)

Barry Cowen

Ceist:

328. Deputy Barry Cowen asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the date of each review and revision of the material published under the publication scheme of her Department as outlined in section 8 of the Freedom of Information Act 2014; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [48206/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Employment)

The Department's Freedom of Information (FOI) publication scheme is based on the model publication scheme set out under Section 8 (7) of the FOI Act. This contains six different sections and these sections are updated at different intervals, reflecting the nature of the information contained in them.

For example, the section giving details of FOI contacts was updated as recently as October of this year while the procurement section was updated in May 2019. Other elements of the publication scheme do not require such frequent updating - for example, the material on the role and functions of the Department does not require regular alteration. All elements of the scheme are kept under review and updated as is necessary.

I hope this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.

Community Employment Schemes Supervisors

Ceisteanna (329)

Brendan Griffin

Ceist:

329. Deputy Brendan Griffin asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection her views on a matter regarding community employment supervisors (details supplied); and if she will make a statement on the matter. [48225/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Employment)

The Community Employment Scheme (CE) is an active labour market programme designed to provide eligible long-term unemployed people and other disadvantaged persons with an opportunity to engage in useful work within their communities on a temporary, fixed term basis.

The programme is delivered through independent Community Employment Sponsoring Bodies. The contract agreement between the Department and the Community Employment Sponsoring Body establishes their role as an independent contractor, responsible for or all purposes and all persons recruited by them.

CE Supervisors have always been employees of Community Employment Sponsoring Bodies which operate in the community and voluntary sector. The Community Employment Sponsoring Body receives public funding.

In July 2008 the Labour Court recommended that an agreed pension scheme should be introduced for CE supervisors and assistant supervisors, and that such a scheme should be adequately funded by FÁS, who were then responsible for CE. It should be noted that FÁS was not a party to the LRC case.

As the Deputy will be aware, the Department is currently engaging with representatives of CE supervisors to discuss issues arising following that 2008 Labour Court Recommendation (LCR 19293) and that all parties agreed that the detail of all discussions undertaken by the group should remain confidential until the process had completed. I would ask Deputies to respect these wishes and allow the talks to continue free from speculation.

Invalidity Pension Applications

Ceisteanna (330)

Michael Healy-Rae

Ceist:

330. Deputy Michael Healy-Rae asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the status of an invalidity pension for a person (details supplied); and if she will make a statement on the matter. [48235/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Employment)

The lady referred to has been awarded invalidity pension with effect from 17 October 2019. Payment will issue to her nominated bank account on 05 December 2019. Any arrears due from 17 October 2019 to 04 December 2019 (less any overlapping social welfare payment) will issue as soon as possible. The lady in question was notified of this decision on 18 November 2019.

I hope this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.

Departmental Expenditure

Ceisteanna (331)

Barry Cowen

Ceist:

331. Deputy Barry Cowen asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the amount spent on public relations, promotion and advertising, including multi-media, in her Department in each of the years 2016 to 2018 and to date in 2019 (details supplied) in tabular form; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [48245/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Employment)

The Department is fully committed to ensuring that members of the public are fully aware of the wide range of welfare supports and services that are available to them and informed of any changes which may affect them. This is especially important when new schemes and services are being launched by my Department. Recent examples include Parents Benefit, Jobseeker's Benefit for the Self Employed and the increase in online services available at MyWelfare.ie.

For the purpose of this response, I have interpreted “the amount spent on promotion and advertising” as including the costs incurred from the media buying aspect of public information campaigns, including media buying expenditure relating to announcements or the advertisement of senior management vacancy notices.

The Department works with a media buying agency to ensure that our advertising is targeted appropriately through the best mix of available media to ensure that the Department’s messages effectively reach the public and the target audience. The Department’s public information/advertising campaigns can include a mix of channels including national and regional print media, national and regional radio advertising, outdoor advertising, and digital and social media advertising.

All advertising expenditure undertaken by the Department is tendered for in accordance with Government and EU procurement guidelines, including use of framework agreements from the Office of Government Procurement.

Total promotion/advertising expenditure in 2016, 2017, 2018 and 2019 to date are set out in the following table.

Year

Total Advertising Expenditure

2016

€87,642.92

2017

€839,102.66

2018

€415,662.31

2019

€661,493.58*

*Invoiced to 18 November 2019

All other communications related expenditure is detailed in the following table.

This expenditure includes the creative design and production costs related to advertising campaign design, the development of content in accessible formats including sign language, subtitled video and braille, production of explainer videos for use online, the development of a suite of plain English customer publications, participation at key national events to provide customer information including the National Ploughing Championships and Pregnancy and Baby Events, costs relating to internal communications and video production.

Year

Other Communication Expenditure

2016

€92,987.06

2017

€312,038.79

2018

€327,726.31

2019

€288,427.63*

*Invoiced to 18 November 2019

No public relations expenditure was incurred by my Department in 2016, 2017, 2018 or 2019 to date.

I trust this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.

Widow's Pension Applications

Ceisteanna (332)

John McGuinness

Ceist:

332. Deputy John McGuinness asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection when a widow's pension will be approved for a person (details supplied). [48259/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Employment)

The person concerned was awarded a maximum rate widow's, widower's & surviving civil partner's contributory pension with effect from 30th August 2018. Payment will commence into her nominated account in a financial institution from the 22nd November 2019.

Any arrears of pension due from the 30th August 2018 will be lodged into her nominated account shortly.

I trust this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.

Departmental Expenditure

Ceisteanna (333)

Shane Cassells

Ceist:

333. Deputy Shane Cassells asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government the amount spent on purchasing mobile telephones for staff in his Department for work-related business in each of the years 2016 to 2018 and to date in 2019, by grade; if his Department has a contract with a mobile telephone company (details supplied) to supply mobile telephones if needed; if so, the name of the company; the date on which the contract for the supply of mobile telephones to his Department is next due to expire; and the robust steps taken to ensure that the costs incurred on work related telephones are the best value for the taxpayer. [47924/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Housing)

My Department awarded a Mobile Voice and Data contract to Vodafone in September 2016 procured through an Office of Government Procurement (OGP) Framework, using a Supplementary Response Framework Tender.  My Department is currently preparing to undertake a competitive tendering process in conjunction with the OGP again for our voice and data services, the contract for which is now due for renewal.

Met Éireann has a two-year drawn down contract in place with Three Ireland, under the OGP mobile phone services framework. The contract is due to expire on 31/10/2020 with an option to extend for a further two years.

The amounts spent on purchasing mobile phones for staff for work-related business in each of the years 2016 to date is as follows:

Expenditure on Mobile Phones

2016

2017

2018

2019

Total

Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government

€107,715

€20,050

€32,560

€28,050

€188,375

Met Éireann

€125

€0

€17,773

€9,486

€27,384

Historical information regarding the grade levels of mobile phone recipients is not available, however, the numbers of staff with mobile phones broken down by grades in 2019 are:

DHPLG

No.

Met Éireann

No.

Secretary General

1

Director

1

Assistant Secretary

6

Senior Meteorologist

8

Principal Officer

39

Principal Officer

1

Assistant Principal Officer

91

Principal Meteorological Officer

6

Administrative Officer

1

Meteorologist

12

Higher Executive Officer

19

Hydrometeorologist

4

Executive Officer

17

Assistant Principal Officer

2

Clerical Officer

2

Senior Meteorological Officer

12

Service Officer

10

Meteorological Officer

2

Accountant

1

Executive Officer

1

Architectural/Engineering

19

Clerical Officer

1

Building Standard Advisor

4

 

 

Housing Inspector

3

 

 

Quantity Surveyor

6

 

 

Senior Advisor

8

 

 

Principal Advisor

3

 

 

Planning Advisor

5

 

 

Legal Advisor

2

 

 

Fire Advisor

4

 

 

Scientific Policy Advisor

2

 

 

Geographical Information Officer

3

 

 

Auditor

8

 

 

Statistician

2

 

 

Private Secretary

4

 

 

Ministers

3

 

 

Personal Assistant

1

 

 

Ministers Advisor

2

 

 

Total

266

 

50

Departmental Legal Cases

Ceisteanna (334)

Eoin Ó Broin

Ceist:

334. Deputy Eoin Ó Broin asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government the status of the ongoing EU Commission and European Court of Justice legal action against the State for breaches of the urban wastewater treatment directive. [47936/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Housing)

Following a judgment in March 2019 by the Court of Justice of the European Union on Ireland's non-compliance with the urban wastewater treatment directive, my Department, accompanied by Irish Water, met Commission officials and proposed a programme of measures to ensure this case is resolved.  My Department will maintain close contact with the Commission while the case remains open.

Works have already been completed at 13 agglomerations to bring them into compliance with the Directive. 

Ireland’s future economic and social progress is critically dependent on upscaling our capacity to deliver reliable, high quality water and wastewater services.  In line with our Programme for Government commitments, we have committed substantial funding to strategically address the deficiencies in the public waste water system.  Investment in waste water infrastructure is prioritised in the Irish Water Strategic Funding Plan and it is estimated that €1.9bn will be invested in waste water projects from 2019 to 2024. 

Building water and wastewater treatment plants and upgrading or building water and wastewater networks as necessary require significant and sustained investment for which the Government is providing through the National Development Plan 2018-2027. This provides for an unprecedented investment in public water and wastewater infrastructure over the next ten years.  This significant multi-billion euro investment programme will ensure the continued operation, repair and upgrading of Ireland’s water and wastewater infrastructure to support social and economic development across the State and continued care of the water environment.

Departmental Staff Data

Ceisteanna (335)

Jim O'Callaghan

Ceist:

335. Deputy Jim O'Callaghan asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government the number of staff in his Department by gender and pay grade in tabular form; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47950/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Housing)

There were 775.21 staff serving in my Department at the end of October 2019, as calculated on a fulltime equivalent basis.  The information requested is set out in the following table. 

Grade

Male

Female

Total

ADMINISTRATIVE OFFICER

9.50

13.00

22.50

ADVISORY COUNSEL GRADE 3

2.00

2.00

ARCHITECTURAL ADVISOR

3.00

2.00

5.00

ARCHITECTURAL/ENG INSPECTOR

8.00

2.00

10.00

ASSISTANT AUDITOR ENVIRONMENT

6.00

1.50

7.50

ASSISTANT DIRECTOR MET SERVICE

1.00

1.00

ASSISTANT FIRE ADVISOR

2.00

2.00

ASSISTANT PRINCIPAL

51.30

58.63

109.93

ASSISTANT SECRETARY

3.00

3.00

6.00

ASSISTANT STAFF ENGINEER

1.00

1.00

AUDITOR

1.00

1.00

AUDITOR ENVIRONMENT

10.00

7.23

17.23

CIVILIAN DRIVER

6.00

6.00

CLEANER

1.00

1.58

2.58

CLERICAL OFF TEMPORARY

2.00

3.00

5.00

CLERICAL OFFICER

19.60

55.53

75.13

DIRECTOR METEORLOGICAL SERVICE

1.00

1.00

DIRECTOR OF AUDIT

1.00

1.00

ENGINEER GRADE 1 CIVIL

5.19

5.19

ENGINEER GRADE 2 CIVIL

2.00

2.00

ENGINEER GRADE 2 MECH/HEATING

1.00

1.00

ENGINEER GRADE 3 CIVIL

1.00

2.50

3.50

EXECUTIVE OFFICER

61.56

73.91

135.47

HEAD SERVICES OFFICER

0.80

0.80

HIGHER EXECUTIVE OFFICER 

46.28

47.59

93.87

HOUSING INSPECTOR

1.00

1.00

ICT APPRENTICE

2.00

2.00

INSPECTOR    PLANNING

2.00

2.00

INSPECTOR GRADE 1

6.00

1.00

7.00

METEOROLOGICAL OFFICER

26.90

13.60

40.50

METEOROLOGIST

26.00

25.93

51.93

PARLIAMENTARY COUNSEL

1.00

1.00

POST-DOCTORAL RESEARCHER

2.00

1.00

3.00

PRINCIPAL ADVISOR HIGHER LEVEL

3.00

1.00

4.00

PRINCIPAL AUDITOR

4.00

1.00

5.00

PRINCIPAL METEOROLOGICAL OFFICER

14.00

2.00

16.00

PRINCIPAL OFFICER

25.20

10.50

35.70

PROFESSIONAL ACCOUNTANT GRADE 1

1.00

1.00

QUANTITY SURVEYOR GRADE 1

6.00

6.00

RURAL GENERAL OPERATIVE

2.00

2.00

SECRETARY GENERAL

1.00

1.00

SENIOR ADVISER

9.00

9.00

SENIOR ASSISTANT FIRE ADVISOR

1.00

1.00

SENIOR METEOROLOGICAL OFFICER

25.95

10.00

35.95

SENIOR METEOROLOGIST

5.00

2.00

7.00

SENIOR STATISTICIAN

1.00

1.00

SERVICES ATTENDANT

1.23

1.23

SERVICES OFFICER

13.00

5.00

18.00

SPECIAL ADVISOR TO THE MINISTER

2.00

2.00

STATISTICIAN

1.00

1.00

SUPERVISING HOUSING INSPECTOR

1.00

0.60

1.60

VISUALLY IMPAIRED TELEPHONIST

0.60

0.60

Grand Total

422.51

352.70

775.21

Ministerial Advisers Data

Ceisteanna (336)

Fiona O'Loughlin

Ceist:

336. Deputy Fiona O'Loughlin asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government the political advisers used by Ministers and Ministers of State in his Department since the commencement of this Government; the commencement and cessation dates in each case; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47967/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Housing)

Two special advisers are currently used by my Department.  There has been one change of adviser during my time as Minister and details are set out in the following table.  These advisers work across a wide range of areas within the remit of my Department including Housing, Planning, Local Government, Water Services and Electoral Reform as well as liaising with the media and other Government Departments and advisers. 

No advisers have been appointed by the Ministers of State in my Department.

The name and start date of each adviser are set out in the table.

 Name

Start date

 Cessation Date

 Jack O'Donnell

14 June 2017  

 

 Jennifer Carroll Mac Neill

6 November 2017

 2 February 2019

 Paul Melia

 7 February 2019

 

My immediate predecessor as Minister in this Government appointed two advisers, as reflected in the following table.

Name

Start Date

Cessation Date 

Catriona Fitzpatrick

7 May 2016

14 June 2017

Bob Jordan

5 July 2016

14 June 2017

Departmental Data

Ceisteanna (337)

Shane Cassells

Ceist:

337. Deputy Shane Cassells asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government the number of complaints of bullying and sexual harassment, respectively, received by his Department in each of the years 2016 to 2018 and to date in 2019, in tabular form. [48040/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Housing)

My Department is implementing Dignity at Work, the Civil Service anti-bullying, harassment and sexual harassment policy, in the manner required. 

There have been no complaints of bullying and sexual harassment in my Department in the years 2016 to 2018 and to date in 2019.

Departmental Staff Dismissals

Ceisteanna (338)

Shane Cassells

Ceist:

338. Deputy Shane Cassells asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government the number of employees of his Department who were dismissed in each of the years 2016 to 2018 and to date 2019; the reason for the dismissal of each employee; the number of employees suspended in the same period; and the reason for the suspension of each in tabular form. [48075/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Housing)

There have been no dismissals or suspensions in my Department in any of the years 2016 to 2018 and to date in 2019.

Departmental Staff Data

Ceisteanna (339)

Darragh O'Brien

Ceist:

339. Deputy Darragh O'Brien asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government the number of staff currently engaged by the housing delivery office in his Department; the number per annum since its inception; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [48081/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Housing)

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

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

Having carried out a range of initial initiatives, and taking account of the fact that some assignments to the office were time-limited, the HDO was refocused in September 2017 to work more closely on supporting local housing delivery and land management. In that context, the current team is comprised of 2 civil servants with experience of housing delivery and the local government sector.  In addition to this complement of staff, the HDO draws on supports from other relevant Business Units in my Department, the local authorities and other relevant public bodies. 

More recently, my Department has been engaging with the Local Government Management Agency (LGMA) in respect of the sector's further delivery needs and, against this background, I met with Chief Executives in September 2019 to discuss plans for a newly reconfigured HDO. I expect to receive final proposals from the LGMA in this regard shortly.

Departmental Staff Data

Ceisteanna (340)

Darragh O'Brien

Ceist:

340. Deputy Darragh O'Brien asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government the number of staff currently employed by the housing procurement office in his Department; the number employed per annum since its inception; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [48082/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Housing)

My Department is not directly involved in housing procurement and as such there are no staff employed in such procurement within the Department. The procurement of housing as social homes is a matter for the Local Authorities and Approved Housing Bodies.

The Housing Delivery Division in my Department supports a significant number of actions under the Government's Action Plan on Housing and Homelessness - Rebuilding Ireland. This includes Homelessness and Social Inclusion Supports, Traveller Accommodation, Affordability and Cost Rental, the oversight and management of the Social Housing Capital and Current Programmes. The Division is also responsible for implementation and management of the Housing Assistance Payment (HAP) and the Rental Accommodation Scheme (RAS).

In addition to leading social housing programme delivery, the Division also has responsibility for planning, management and oversight of social housing finance and expenditure as well as an advisory role on Built Environment issues. In this regard, the Division operates an approval process in accordance with the Capital Works Management Framework and the Public Spending Code to ensure quality social housing, value for money and the creation of sustainable communities. Both the Capital Works Management Framework and the Public Spending Code require compliance with EU and national public procurement requirements.

The Division currently has a full-time equivalent staffing complement of 136.99.

Tenant Purchase Scheme Review

Ceisteanna (341)

Darragh O'Brien

Ceist:

341. Deputy Darragh O'Brien asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government the status of the review of the tenant purchase scheme; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [48083/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Housing)

In line with the commitment given in the Government's Rebuilding Ireland Action Plan on Housing and Homelessness, a review of the operation of the first 12 months of the Tenant Purchase (Incremental) Scheme has been completed and a full report has been prepared setting out findings and recommendations. 

I intend to bring a comprehensive package of social housing reform measures to Government in the near future and the review of the Tenant Purchase Scheme will be published as part of that process.

Mortgage to Rent Scheme Data

Ceisteanna (342)

Darragh O'Brien

Ceist:

342. Deputy Darragh O'Brien asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government the number of applications made since the introduction of the mortgage to rent scheme per annum in tabular form; the number of applications successfully granted since the introduction of the scheme; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [48086/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Housing)

From the introduction of the Mortgage to Rent (MTR) scheme in 2012 to end October 2019, a total of 4,984 cases had been submitted.  Of these 4,984 cases, 3,253 were ineligible or terminated during the process. Of the remaining cases submitted, 606 have been completed and the remaining 1,125 are actively being progressed.  The number of completed MTR cases is increasing every month, with a 76% increase in the number of cases completing in the period January to October 2019 (161) compared to the same period in 2018 (91).  The MTR process from application stage to completion stage is also operating more speedily as a result of the streamlining initiatives that have been undertaken. 

The following table details the number of MTR transactions completed in the years 2012 to 2018 and up to the end of October 2019:

Year

2012

2013

2014

2015

2016

2017

2018

2019 (To End October)

TOTAL

Number of MTR transactions competed

1

21

29

96

70

91

137

161

606

Information in relation to the number of MTR applications submitted annually from 2012 to 2018 and to end October 2019 is outlined in the following table.  In the earlier stages of the operation of the scheme, when lenders were not familiar with its operation, 500 cases were incorrectly submitted by lenders.  In addition, 233 cases were submitted in duplicate.  By its nature, the scheme also lends itself to a large withdrawal rate and to the end of October 2019, 1,256 applications had been withdrawn.  If other options rather than losing home ownership are put forward by the lender, a borrower is more likely to avail of these other options. 

Year

No. of MTR applications

2012

681

2013

1,080

2014

527

2015

893

2016

394

2017

282

2018

618

2019 to end October

509

The Housing Agency, who administer the MTR scheme on my Department's behalf, publishes, on a quarterly basis, detailed statistical information on the operation of the MTR scheme.  This information is available on the Agency's website at the following link:

https://www.housingagency.ie/our-services/housing-supply-services/mortgage-to-rent.aspx.  

A Review of the MTR scheme, published on 8 February 2017, introduced a range of amendments to the eligibility criteria and administration of the scheme in order to improve its operation.

The Review, which is available at http://rebuildingireland.ie/news/changes-in-mortgage-to-rent-scheme/, explored the avenues and impediments to participation in the scheme and recommended a number of actions to make the scheme work better for borrowers.  My Department and the Housing Agency has worked with all stakeholders to ensure that the actions set out in the Review are effectively implemented to benefit a greater number of households.  In that context, the eligibility requirements of the scheme were widened to include a greater number of borrowers and a larger number of property types.  Increasing awareness and understanding of the scheme has been a priority and a new website, www.mortgagetorent.ie, dedicated to guiding and advising borrowers has been developed.  In addition, new structures and arrangements have been put in place to encourage a greater number of entities to take part in the scheme.

While it will continue to be the case that not all MTR applications will progress into completed transactions for varied reasons, the implementation of the resulting actions from the Review means that MTR is available to provide a long-term solution for more households in mortgage distress, where appropriate. 

My focus, and that of the Government, is to ensure that as many households as possible remain in their homes and I would encourage borrowers to engage with the Abhaile Service, the national mortgage arrears resolution service, which is available free of charge to the borrower.  The unique element of Abhaile is that it brings together, for the first time, the full range of supports and services required by borrowers in home mortgage arrears.  A dedicated adviser will work with the borrower and their lender to find the best solution for their particular situation.  MABS act as the gateway for the service and can be contacted by telephoning (076)1072000 or by accessing their website at: www.mabs.ie/abhaile.

For those borrowers in danger of losing their home who are ineligible for the MTR scheme but qualify for social housing support, it is recommended that they engage as early as possible with their local authority regarding their long-term housing needs.

Local Authority Housing Data

Ceisteanna (343)

Darragh O'Brien

Ceist:

343. Deputy Darragh O'Brien asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government the average turn around time for a vacant property to be re-occupied on a local authority by local authority basis; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [48087/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Housing)

Statistics in relation to social housing stock are published by the National Oversight and Audit Commission (NOAC) in their annual reports on Performance Indicators in Local Authorities. These reports provide a range of information in relation to social housing stock, including the average time taken to re-tenant a dwelling.  The most recent report, relating to 2018, is available on the NOAC website at the following link: http://noac.ie/wp-content/uploads/2019/10/NOAC-Performance-Indicator-Report-2018-1.pdf.

My Department is continuing to engage with local authorities, to support them in returning both short and longer-term vacant properties to use as swiftly as possible. Elected Councils also have a role to play in supporting this work by making adequate budgetary provision for housing repairs and maintenance, utilising the housing rental income available to them.

Local Authority Housing Data

Ceisteanna (344)

Darragh O'Brien

Ceist:

344. Deputy Darragh O'Brien asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government the amount of money issued to each local authority for vacant social housing property refurbishment on a local authority by local authority basis per annum since 2016; the number refurbished per annum since 2016 on a local authority by local authority basis; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [48088/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Housing)

Under Section 58 of the Housing Act 1966, the management and maintenance of local authority housing stock, including the implementation of planned maintenance programmes and carrying out of responsive repairs and pre-letting repairs to vacant properties, is a matter for each individual local authority.

Local authority housing stock becomes vacant and is refurbished and re-let on a continuous basis by the local authorities and my Department does not have information on all such re-lets and their cost.  My Department does provide some exchequer funding to support local authorities in tackling vacant social housing through the voids programme, particularly homes that would likely remain vacant for a significant period of time because of the scale of the works required.  The programme assists local authorities in actively targeting such vacant properties, to minimise their turnaround and re-let times and return them to use in an energy efficient condition. 

The following table shows the number of units supported and funding provided by my Department under the voids programme for each local authority for the years 2016 to 2018. 

 

Units Returned in 2016

Funding 2016

Units Returned in 2017

Funding 2017

Units Returned in 2018

Funding 2018

Carlow

8

€69,450

8

€91,750

38

€555,874

Cavan

32

€307,530

31

€303,112

14

€270,779

Clare

79

€1,329,700

47

€966,203

43

€906,400

Cork City

263

€6,812,333

81

€1,485,357

74

€820,190

Cork County

98

€1,270,488

48

€1,130,977

205

€4,351,122

Donegal

89

€986,690

168

€1,866,898

86

€969,585

Dublin City

575

€8,757,848

543

€8,520,549

495

€8,299,452

Fingal

147

€1,725,774

121

€1,329,300

48

€589,150

South Dublin

81

€703,736

87

€718,446

61

€574,589

Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown 

19

€183,092

31

€283,531

50

€436,845

Galway City

29

€346,650

11

€124,150

3

€0

Galway County

37

€472,552

37

€401,159

45

€763,853

Kerry

90

€917,549

90

€1,101,143

98

€1,132,446

Kildare

24

€485,130

8

€205,960

27

€639,867

Kilkenny

14

€351,278

16

€307,749

15

€212,293

Laois

12

€97,053

4

€33,170

12

€97,688

Leitrim

51

€712,404

0

€0

30

€387,427

Limerick

18

€384,250

13

€215,520

24

€272,177

Longford

23

€506,705

0

€0

3

€67,500

Louth

8

€91,523

7

€83,518

13

€166,794

Mayo

25

€233,089

22

€261,986

20

€204,474

Meath

76

€1,435,700

52

€769,005

59

€836,941

Monaghan

47

€667,944

38

€505,254

52

€496,283

Offaly

53

€846,198

7

€107,792

10

€102,929

Roscommon

80

€808,612

3

€44,324

2

€22,600

Sligo

68

€1,097,909

40

€909,395

100

€1,650,283

Tipperary

102

€1,204,318

107

€1,324,604

63

€771,582

Waterford

90

€1,135,973

52

€574,309

20

€0

Westmeath

43

€436,062

40

€329,113

23

€207,845

Wexford

17

€167,007

34

€428,015

8

€0

Wicklow

10

€245,887

11

€276,778

24

€452,145

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2,308

€34,790,434

1,757

€24,699,067

1,765

€26,259,113

Rental Sector Strategy

Ceisteanna (345)

Darragh O'Brien

Ceist:

345. Deputy Darragh O'Brien asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government the status the cost rental pilot project schemes; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [48089/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Housing)

Acknowledging that renters in Dublin and other major urban centres are currently facing significant housing access and affordability challenges, the Government is committed to the introduction of a Cost Rental sector in Ireland. My Department is currently developing a national policy approach for this new form of rental tenure. This work includes the development of two pathfinder projects on local authority-owned sites, from which lessons will be drawn to inform an optimum model for Cost Rental delivery at the national level.

The first of these projects in Enniskerry Road, is currently under construction. Work on this development of 155 units began in July 2019.  It comprises 105 homes for social housing and 50 two bedroomed Cost Rental homes.  The Cost Rental units, which are scheduled for completion in 2021, will be offered for rental at €1,200 per month. Land for the development is being provided by Dun Laoghaire Rathdown County Council to help achieve these competitive rents, which represent a very significant reduction when compared with market rents in the Stepaside area. My Department is also providing €4.5 million is Serviced Sites Funding to support infrastructure costs associated with the development.  

The other pathfinder project is at Emmet Road in Inchicore, including the site of the former St Michael's Estate. Dublin City Council, the site owner, is continuing to make progress on the design and planning work for this project. DCC has appointed a dedicated project manager and a project team to move the project forward, and a development framework plan has recently been completed. It is projected that the site can accommodate 484 homes in a high-quality mixed tenure development, including 375 Cost Rental apartments. The remaining units will be provided for social housing. DCC is engaging with my Department according to the best practice guidelines set out in the Capital Works Management Framework, and is procuring an architect-led integrated design team which will be responsible for designing the scheme and taking it as far as the planning stage. I am determined that work will continue to progress at pace on this project and that lessons learned from the financial modelling for this location are applied more broadly.

In terms of the Cost Rental agenda more generally, the development of a national policy approach is being progressed by working group led by my Department and also involving the Land Development Agency, the Housing Agency, and other bodies. This will provide for a sustainable financing structure and allow us to commence the delivery of Cost Rental homes at scale. Detailed operational and eligibility criteria for Cost Rental will be informed by this evidence building and policy work. The work of the group will also be assisted by consultancy and research support which will be undertaken by the European Investment Bank on our behalf. The EIB has extensive international experience in affordable housing, and is providing technical assistance in assessing the potential market for Cost Rental in Ireland. The development of a national model for Cost Rental will be concluded well in advance of the completion of construction work on the homes at the first pathfinder site on Enniskerry Road.