Personal Public Service Numbers

Ceisteanna (596)

Brendan Ryan

Ceist:

596. Deputy Brendan Ryan asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection if her attention has been drawn to the backlog that exists in processing applications for PPS numbers; the impact it is having on employers seeking to recruit critical skills shortages particularly in the building trades; the way in which she plans to address the problem; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [50302/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Employment)

Applications for Personal Public Service Numbers (PPS Numbers) are processed in a network of offices of my Department across the State. Customers can make appointments through an online appointments system through the mywelfare.ie facility and many offices also offer a walk-in service. Demand varies across various geographical locations for reasons such as population, demographics and variations in the levels of economic activity.

I am advised that some offices are currently experiencing higher than normal demand for online appointments. These locations are located in large urban centres of Dublin (D’Olier Street and Kings Inn) and Cork.

This reflects an increase in the number of people applying for a PPS Number.

It is the case that in some instances, a person attending an appointment may not bring all of the required supporting documentation with them and has to attend a second appointment to complete the application process.

My Department has taken steps to address this issue, including the assignment of overtime resources to the processing of applications and to making additional appointments available. My Department is also working directly with a number of employers on this matter, and will take appropriate further remedial action as required to ensure best possible customer service in this area.

Should any particular employer or industry sector encounter particular difficulties in this area, my Department stands ready to work with them to ensure this vital service is made available to them.

I trust this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.

Invalidity Pension Payments

Ceisteanna (597)

Charlie McConalogue

Ceist:

597. Deputy Charlie McConalogue asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection when arrears will issue to a person (details supplied) for an invalidity pension application; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [50307/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Employment)

The lady referred to has been awarded invalidity pension with effect from 07 February 2019. First payment issued to her nominated bank account on 21 November 2019. Arrears due from 07 February 2019 to 20 November 2019, less any overlapping social welfare payment will issue to her nominated bank account on 05 December 2019.

I hope this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.

Pension Provisions

Ceisteanna (598)

Niamh Smyth

Ceist:

598. Deputy Niamh Smyth asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the impact on pension entitlements for carers who took time out of the workforce; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [50150/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Employment)

The interim Total Contributions Approach (known as the Aggregated Contributions Method) for calculating State Pension (contributory) that I introduced in early 2018 makes it easier for many post-2012 pensioners affected by the 2012 rate band changes and assessed under the yearly average model, to qualify for a higher rate of the State pension (contributory).

This model requires 40 years of contributions for a full rate pension. Crucially, it facilitates up to 20 years of HomeCaring periods to be added to paid contributions to increase a person’s rate. It effectively means that the minimum number of paid contributions of 20 years needed for a full rate pension is as the National Pensions Framework suggested. However the additional scope for home caring potentially allows more people, particularly women who took time out of the work place to care for children and others, to earn a higher rate pension.

PRSI contributions can be credited to people in a number of contexts and as such up to 10 years of credits, for example Jobseekers or Illness Benefit, may also be used subject to the total of such credits and HomeCaring periods not exceeding 20 years. For example a person might receive a maximum pension based on a record of 20 years paid PRSI contributions, 5 years jobseekers credits, and 15 years HomeCaring (before or after 1994), over a 50 year period, despite additional gaps of up to 10 years.

There will be some people who have contributed less frequently into the Social Insurance Fund (which pays for contributory pensions), and who will therefore be below the threshold required for a maximum rate of the State pension (contributory). However, for those with insufficient contributions to meet the requirements for a State pension (contributory), they may qualify for a means tested State pension (non-contributory), the maximum personal rate for which is €237 (over 95% of the maximum rate of the contributory pension). This rate of payment does not include rent allowance, household benefits or fuel allowance. Alternatively, if their spouse is a State pensioner and they have significant household means, their most beneficial payment may be an Increase for a Qualified Adult, based on their personal means, and amounting up to 90% of a full contributory pension.

Any additional changes to pension entitlements for carers would need to be considered in the overall policy and budgetary context.

I hope this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.

Legislative Measures

Ceisteanna (599)

Barry Cowen

Ceist:

599. Deputy Barry Cowen asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the number of Bills sponsored by her Department that have been enacted since November 2013, in tabular form. [50318/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Employment)

My Department has responsibility for the legislation underpinning the social welfare code, occupational and private pensions, civil registration and gender recognition, redundancy and employer’s insolvency, employment rights and the Citizens Information Board.

Fourteen Acts relating to these matters have been enacted since November 2013, as set out in the following table

Title of Act

Date of Enactment

Social Welfare Act 2019

24 October 2019

Civil Registration Act 2019

23 May 2019

Employment (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 2018

25 December 2018

Social Welfare, Pensions and Civil Registration Act 2018

24 December 2018

Social Welfare Act 2017

23 December 2017

Social Welfare Act 2016

19 December 2016

Social Welfare and Pensions Act 2015

16 December 2015

Gender Recognition Act 2015

22 July 2015

Social Welfare (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 2015

06 May 2015

Social Welfare and Pensions (No. 2) Act 2014

25 December 2014

Civil Registration (Amendment) Act 2014

04 December 2014

Social Welfare and Pensions Act 2014

17 July 2014

Social Welfare and Pensions (No. 2) Act 2013

25 December 2013

Social Welfare and Pensions Act 2013

09 November 2013

State Pension (Contributory)

Ceisteanna (600)

Michael Healy-Rae

Ceist:

600. Deputy Michael Healy-Rae asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the status of a contributory pension application by a person (details supplied); and if she will make a statement on the matter. [50332/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Employment)

The person concerned applied for State pension (contributory) on 30 October 2019. According to the records of my Department, they have a total of 2,079 full-rate paid and credited contributions for the period from 1974 to 2019. This equates to a yearly average of 46 contributions which is sufficient to qualify for 98% of the maximum rate of State pension (contributory), awarded from the person’s 66th birthday.

The person was notified in writing of this decision on 30 November 2019, together with details of arrears due from 15 October 2019. They were also requested to notify my Department when they have paid their self-employment liabilities for the 2018 tax year. Their pension entitlement will then be reviewed on the basis of their updated social insurance record.

I hope this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.

JobPath Programme

Ceisteanna (601)

Richard Boyd Barrett

Ceist:

601. Deputy Richard Boyd Barrett asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the rates paid to the companies for each person who is referred to them with regard to the various companies that run the JobPath scheme; the stage in the process the payment or payments are made; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [50389/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Employment)

JobPath is a payment by results model and all set-up and day-to-day operational costs are borne by the companies. The companies are paid on the basis of performance with the exception of the initial registration fee; payments are made only when a client has achieved sustained employment.

Total fees payable per client comprise of an initial Registration fee payable on completion of a Personal Progression Plan (PPP), along with 4 Job Sustainment Fees at 13 week intervals in the event a client secures employment. The average rate of payment for each event is set out below:

-

Personal Progression Plan

€311

13 Week Job Sustainment Fee

€613

26 Week Job Sustainment Fee

€737

39 Week Job Sustainment Fee

€892

52 Week Job Sustainment Fee

€1,165

It is not intended to publish the actual rates paid to the JobPath providers as these are commercially sensitive and to do so would place the State at a disadvantage both in terms of the contracts currently in place and in any future procurement that may be undertaken

I hope this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.

Labour Activation Programmes

Ceisteanna (602, 603)

Richard Boyd Barrett

Ceist:

602. Deputy Richard Boyd Barrett asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection further to Parliamentary Question No. 628 of 22 October 2019, if the nature of clerical error is an isolated incident with the company involved; if not, the number of such errors with the company and the dates on which they occurred; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [50390/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Richard Boyd Barrett

Ceist:

603. Deputy Richard Boyd Barrett asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the safeguards in place to ensure that the signature on the personal progression plan forms used by Turas Nua is in fact the signature of the person identified on the form; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [50391/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Employment)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 602 and 603 together.

When a customer completes and signs a Personal Progression Plan (PPP), it is countersigned by their Employment Adviser and an electronic copy issued to the customer. My Department has not had any notifications from customers who signed a PPP that it was not their signature on the PPP. On occasion a customer may decline to sign a PPP and in that event an Employment Adviser will sign as appropriate in the space provided to the Employment Adviser and note that the customer has declined to sign. The customer is then given a hard copy of the unsigned PPP. The individual matter raised previously by Deputy Boyd Barrett was in the circumstance where the customer declined to sign a PPP and the Employment Adviser signed the wrong box. I am advised that my Department is currently engaging with Turas Nua to identify any other possible circumstance where this may have occurred.

The Personal Progression Plan (PPP) typically contains a schedule of activities, actions and job-focused targets, taking into account the person’s specific employment preferences. The PPP is a crucial element of each jobseeker’s engagement with any of the Department’s activation services and generally will be a document that will be reviewed throughout the person’s engagement period as they develop employment related skills and competencies or job related experience.

Jobseekers are asked to sign the PPP as an indication of their agreement to carry out the activation measures contained in the document. My Department will pay an initial registration fee to a JobPath provider when the customer has engaged with the service. A completed PPP is taken as evidence of engagement, a customer signature is not a requirement as evidence of engagement.

Social Welfare Code

Ceisteanna (604)

Éamon Ó Cuív

Ceist:

604. Deputy Éamon Ó Cuív asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the circumstances in which her Department may request that a person hand up their passport and retain this passport for up to 21 days; the Act under which such a decision is made; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [50396/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Employment)

I am not aware of any specific powers within the social welfare code under which my Department would require a person to surrender their passport. If the Deputy is aware of a particular case, perhaps he would let me have the details and I will arrange to have the matter investigated.

Local Authority Housing Eligibility

Ceisteanna (605)

Anne Rabbitte

Ceist:

605. Deputy Anne Rabbitte asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government if his Department recognises a diagnosis of autism as a disability in cases in which families apply for housing to their local authority; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [49714/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Housing)

The National Housing Strategy for people with a Disability (NHSPWD) 2011-2016 and associated National Implementation Framework were jointly published by my Department and the Department of Health. Building on the Programme for a Partnership Government commitment to meet the housing needs of people with disabilities, the NHSPWD has been extended to 2020 under Rebuilding Ireland to continue to deliver on its aims.

The National Guidelines for the Assessment and Allocation Process for Social Housing Provision for People with a Disability were revised in 2017. The Guidelines set out the categories of disability, including autism, which local authorities should recognise where there is a specific housing need arising from the disability when households make application for a social housing assessment. The Guidelines also refer to the National Disability Authority Guidance for local authority housing officers on how to work with people with autism making an application for social housing or for a housing adaptation grant under the Programme for Autism Actions.

Applications for an assessment of housing need for people with disabilities are made to individual local authorities. These applications are assessed in accordance with the relevant allocation scheme made under section 22 of the Housing (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 2009 and associated Regulations. This legislation requires all local authorities, as a reserved function, to make an allocation scheme determining the order of priority to be accorded in the allocation of dwellings to households qualified for social housing support.

As the NHSPWD was reaffirmed under Rebuilding Ireland up to 2020, both my Department and the Department of Health are currently in discussions about the next Housing Strategy for People with Disabilities post 2020. Development of a new strategy will include extensive consultation with all stakeholders.

Emergency Accommodation Provision

Ceisteanna (606)

Thomas P. Broughan

Ceist:

606. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government if he will report on the complaints mechanism for persons and families in emergency accommodation; if his officials examine, report on and investigate complaints received; the number of complaints received in 2017, 2018 and to date in 2019, by the type of emergency accommodation; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [49777/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Housing)

My Department's role in relation to homelessness involves the provision of a national framework of policy, legislation and funding to underpin the role of housing authorities in addressing homelessness at local level. Statutory responsibility in relation to the provision of accommodation and related services for homeless persons rests with individual housing authorities. In general, the operation of emergency accommodation facilities is contracted out by local authorities, under service level agreements, to NGOs involved in the delivery of homeless services. Accordingly, my Department does not examine, investigate or record complaints received in emergency accommodation facilities.

Supporting individuals and families experiencing homelessness is a priority for the Government. The Dublin Region Homeless Executive has developed a National Quality Standards Framework (NQSF) on behalf of my Department. The Framework has been developed to ensure a more consistent approach in how housing authorities and service providers respond to the needs of those experiencing homelessness.

The Framework focuses on person-centered services and contains specific provisions regarding complaints mechanisms for persons and families in emergency accommodation. These include that service users’ complaints and concerns are listened to and acted upon in a timely, supportive and effective manner. The Framework was implemented on a phased basis in the Dublin region, with site visits commencing in February. The experience gained from the completion of the rollout in the Dublin region and the commencement of site visits has allowed the DRHE to evaluate how the Framework should be implemented nationally and to advise my Department accordingly. Earlier this year, my Department wrote to housing authorities, advising them on the process for the implementation of the Framework, which is being undertaken on a nationwide basis over a 12-month period commencing on 1 July 2019.

Fire Safety Regulations

Ceisteanna (607, 614)

Bríd Smith

Ceist:

607. Deputy Bríd Smith asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government the number of apartments and houses known to his Department to have substandard fire safety standards; the person or body responsible for taking action to correct the defects; his plans to ensure such homes meet the safety standards required; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [49807/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Bríd Smith

Ceist:

614. Deputy Bríd Smith asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government if consideration has been given to setting up a redress scheme for homeowners who find their properties have substandard fire safety standards and in which the developer and builder is no longer solvent; the responsibility and role of State agencies including local authorities and planning regulators in enforcing the original regulations regarding safety standards in such developments; if he has a role in ensuring breaches are pursued and corrected if clear breaches of existing regulations have been committed; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [49977/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Housing)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 607 and 614 together.

While my Department is aware of dwellings where concerns over fire safety issues have arisen, it is a matter for local authorities, who have extensive powers of inspection and enforcement under the Fire Services Acts 1981 and 2003, the Fire Services Acts, the Housing Acts and the Planning and Development Acts, to deal with such cases.

Fire services inspect buildings in cases of defects or complaints in respect of fire safety. They work with building owners to ensure that immediate risks are addressed and that a plan is put in place, where required, for works to bring buildings into compliance. Local authorities are independent in carrying out these functions.

In relation to legacy issues, in general building defects are matters for resolution between the contracting parties involved, that is the homeowner, the builder, the developer and/or their respective insurers, structural guarantee or warranty scheme.

The State has no general statutory role in resolving defects in privately owned buildings, including dwellings, nor does it have a budget for such matters. It is not possible for the State to take on responsibility/liability for all legacy issues nor would it send the right message to the industry regarding their responsibility for compliance.

The legislative position is very clear in terms of where responsibility of property ownership lies for identifying the need for, arranging of, and funding remedial works where need for such is identified.

When a building is constructed and occupied, statutory responsibility for safety is assigned by section 18(2) of the Fire Services Acts, 1981 & 2003, to the ‘person having control’ of the building. The person having control is required to take reasonable measures to guard against the outbreak of fire and to ensure the safety of persons in the event of fire. In multi-unit developments, the "person having control" is generally the Owner Management Company.

Under the Multi-Unit Developments Act 2011, (which is under the remit of the Minister for Justice and Equality), the owner management company must establish a scheme for annual service charges and a sinking fund for spending on refurbishment, improvement or maintenance of a non-recurring nature of the multi-unit development.

In response to the building failures that have emerged over the past decade, Government has embarked on a three pronged Building Control Reform Agenda – to reduce the risk of similar problems occurring again– centred on:

1. Reform of the Building Control process

2. Establishment of a National Building Control Management Project

3. Putting the Construction Industry Register Ireland on a statutory footing.

It was through the Building Control (Amendment) Regulations 2014, known within the industry as BCAR, and accompanying code of practice that the roles and responsibilities of owners, designers, builders, assigned certifiers have been set out and clarified. BCAR requires the owner to assign competent persons to design, build, inspect and certify building works he/she has commissioned. They in turn, must account for their contribution through the lodgement of compliance documentation, inspection plans and statutory certificates. Primary responsibility for compliance with the requirements of the Building Regulations rests with the owners, designers and builders of buildings.

If and when issues arise whether pre, during or post construction, it is clear who has held the designated roles and who is responsible for addressing the issues. This facilitates and simplifies the inspection, implementation and enforcement role of the Building Control Authority.

The building control function has been strengthened by the establishment of the National Building Control Office, which provides oversight, direction and support for the development, standardisation and implementation of building control in local authorities. The inspections policy is being reviewed and developed to support local authorities identify risk and make the most efficient and effective use of the resources available.

The Government has committed to placing the Construction Industry Register Ireland, or CIRI, on a statutory footing.

The focus will remain firmly on ensuring the full roll out of the Building Control reform agenda, to ensure that all those that engaged in the construction sector take their responsibilities seriously and are appropriately held to account. As part of the reform agenda, consumer protection will continue to a core concern and any proposals in that regard will, of course, be considered.

Planning Guidelines

Ceisteanna (608)

Thomas Pringle

Ceist:

608. Deputy Thomas Pringle asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government when he will implement the recommendation of the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Climate Action to revise the planning regulations to remove planning restrictions on solar PV panels in order to enable increased microgeneration capacity at household, farm and small enterprise levels. [49808/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Housing)

Under the Planning and Development Act 2000, as amended (the Act), all development, unless specifically exempted under the Act or associated Regulations, requires planning permission. Section 4 of the Act and Schedule 2 of the Planning and Development Regulations 2001, as amended (the Regulations), set out various exemptions from the requirement to obtain planning permission. Any such exemptions are subject to compliance with any general restrictions on exemptions set out in the Act or the Regulations and to the specific conditions set out in each class of exempted development in Schedule 2 of the Regulations.

With regard to exemptions for solar panels, Class 2 of Part 1 of Schedule 2 of the Regulations provides an exemption for "the installation or erection of a solar panel on, or within the curtilage of a house or any buildings within the curtilage of a house", subject to certain siting and size conditions.

Class 56 of Part 1 of Schedule 2 of the Regulations provides an exemption for "the installation or erection on a business premises or light industrial building, or any ancillary buildings within the curtilage of such premises or building, of solar panels (thermal collector or photo-voltaic), subject to certain siting and size conditions.

Furthermore, Class 18 of Part 3 of Schedule 2 of the Regulations provides an exemption for "the installation or erection on an agricultural structure, or within the curtilage of an agricultural holding, of solar panels (thermal collector or photo-voltaic)", again subject to a number of conditions.

My Department is currently undertaking a review of the solar panel exemptions set out in Schedule 2 of the Regulations, and is actively engaging with the Department of Communications, Climate Action and Environment and other key stakeholders, with a view to finalising a proposal for draft amending Regulations - to reflect technical developments in the sector - before the end of 2019. As required under planning legislation, any such proposed exempted development regulations must be laid in draft form before the Houses of the Oireachtas and receive a positive resolution from both Houses before they can be made.

Social and Affordable Housing Data

Ceisteanna (609)

Niamh Smyth

Ceist:

609. Deputy Niamh Smyth asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government the number of new builds undertaken by public bodies and or local authorities by county in tabular form to date in 2019; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [49815/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Housing)

A strong social housing construction pipeline is in place, details of which are set out in the Social Housing Construction Status Report which is updated and published on a quarterly basis. The report covering the period up to end Quarter 2 of 2019, is available on the Rebuilding Ireland website at https://rebuildingireland.ie/news/minister-murphy-publishes-social-housing-construction-status-report-for-q2-2019-2/. The information is provided by each local authority area and it is updated and published on a quarterly basis. Information relating to delivery in Quarter 3 of 2019 will be published shortly.

The report published in respect of Quarter 2 reflected an increase in the scale of the social housing build programme under Rebuilding Ireland, with over 1,500 schemes (or phases of schemes) in place, delivering over 22,000 new social housing homes. Of this total, over 7,300 new homes have already been delivered up to Quarter 2 of 2019, while over 6,400 additional new homes were under construction. A further 2,700 homes were at the final pre-construction stage and the remainder were progressing through the various stages of planning, design and procurement.

Details of the number of social housing construction completions in each local authority area, are available on my Department's website at the following link www.housing.gov.ie/node/6338.

Local Authority Finances

Ceisteanna (610)

Darragh O'Brien

Ceist:

610. Deputy Darragh O'Brien asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government when guidelines for cost-effective analysis documents for local authorities will be launched; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [49895/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Housing)

My Department has for some time, provided guidance to local authorities when they are undertaking cost effectiveness analyses in respect of high value publicly-funded social housing projects. The local authorities' responsibility in this regard, arises from their role as Sponsoring Agencies for such projects which, under the Public Spending Code, means they have primary responsibility for evaluating, planning and managing their public investment projects.

To provide a greater level of support for the local authorities, my Department has formalised the guidance we provide and recently provided final draft guidance documents to the local authorities. We are seeking observations from the local authorities regarding this comprehensive guidance. While adjustments may be made based on that feedback, the local authorities in the meantime, are continuing to use the guidance for any of their projects that require a cost effectiveness analysis, which support has been available to them for some time.

The final draft guidance documents we have shared with the local authorities include 'Draft Sectoral Guidance for Social Housing Appraisals' and 'Worked Examples of Preliminary Appraisal & Detailed Appraisals'.

Departmental Reports

Ceisteanna (611)

Shane Cassells

Ceist:

611. Deputy Shane Cassells asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government the number of external consultant reports commissioned by his Department in each year from March 2011 to 2018 and to date in 2019; the cost of each report; the company involved; and the title and publication date by report in tabular form. [49907/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Housing)

The information requested is set out in the following table contained in the following link

Table

Repair and Leasing Scheme

Ceisteanna (612)

Darragh O'Brien

Ceist:

612. Deputy Darragh O'Brien asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government the homes brought into use under the repair and leasing scheme; the number of applications and overall expenditure with regard to same by year and local authority; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [49928/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Housing)

The Repair and Leasing Scheme (RLS) was developed to assist private property owners and local authorities or approved housing bodies (AHBs) to harness the accommodation potential that exists in certain vacant dwellings across Ireland. RLS has both capital and current funding streams. The capital element funds the repairs to the property; the current element funds the lease payment to the property owner with the cost of the repairs being recovered from the property owner by offsetting it against the lease payment - annual payments include the ongoing cost of lease payments and costs of new properties brought into the scheme over the course of the year.

At the end of Q2 2019, a total of 1,459 applications for the Repair and Leasing Scheme (RLS) had been received from property owners; 113 homes had been brought back into use and were tenanted; and 149 agreements for lease had been signed. These statistics as well as year-end current and capital spends, broken down by LA, can be found at on the Departments website at the link below;

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

Statistics for Q3 2019 are currently being collated and will be published shortly on the Departments website.

Irish Water Funding

Question No. 614 answered with Question No. 607.

Ceisteanna (613)

Anne Rabbitte

Ceist:

613. Deputy Anne Rabbitte asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government the funding provided to Irish Water for 2019; the amount spent to date; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [49969/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Housing)

A voted provision of €1.2 billion is included in my Department's 2019 Estimates in respect of Irish Water’s domestic water services operational and capital expenditure in 2019. At the end of November 2019 €948.5m of this provision had been provided to Irish Water.

I expect that the full €1.2 billion provision will be drawn down by Irish Water in 2019 before year end.

Question No. 614 answered with Question No. 607.

Mica Redress Scheme

Ceisteanna (615)

Charlie McConalogue

Ceist:

615. Deputy Charlie McConalogue asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government if he will ensure that lenders support homeowners that are affected by mica to access the 10% finance needed for the redress scheme; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [49984/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Housing)

Last year, the Government agreed in principle to introduce a scheme to support affected homeowners in the counties of Donegal and Mayo to carry out the necessary remediation works to dwellings that have been significantly damaged due to defective concrete blocks.

Budget 2020 provides funding of €40 million to fund the operation of the pyrite remediation scheme and this new scheme to address the issues identified in Donegal and Mayo. Funding for future years will be agreed on an annual basis as part of the normal Estimates process and additional funding can be provided should it be required.

The full terms and conditions of the scheme are currently being finalised in consultation with the Attorney General's Office and the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform, including the development of the necessary regulations.

This process takes account of the engagement that my Department is currently having with both Donegal and Mayo County Councils, who will operate and administer the scheme.

In this regard, my Department continues to meet with both local authority teams to conclude implementation arrangements for the scheme. Further engagement will take place over the coming weeks.

The aim will be to complete the outstanding work without delay in order to ensure that the scheme can get underway as early as possible.

In regard to other financial supports provided for homeowners by lenders outside of the scheme, this is a matter for individual homeowners and the lending institutions involved. The day to day operations of the banks and other such institutions, are the sole responsibility of the boards and management teams and each lender must be run on an independent and commercial basis. As Minister, I have no role in the matter.

Departmental Strategies

Ceisteanna (616)

Martin Heydon

Ceist:

616. Deputy Martin Heydon asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government his plans to have an annual review of the regional spatial and economic strategy for the eastern and midlands area to allow for changes and additional inclusions into the strategy; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [49985/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Housing)

The making, implementation and review of a Regional Spatial and Economic Strategy (RSES) is a function of the relevant Regional Assembly, in this case the Eastern and Midland Regional Assembly (EMRA), under the Planning and Development Act 2000 (as amended).

In accordance with section 23 of the Planning and Development Act, the objective of a RSES is to provide a long-term strategic planning and economic framework for the development of the region that is consistent with the National Planning Framework (NPF) and the economic policies or objectives of the Government, and must be for a period of not less than 12 years and not more than 20 years.

Section 25A of the Planning and Development Act requires relevant specified public bodies, and each local authority within the regional assembly area, to prepare and submit a report to the regional assembly every 2 years, setting out progress made in supporting objectives, relevant to that body, of the Strategy.

Further to this, a regional assembly must prepare a monitoring report every 2 years to report on progress made in implementing its RSES, including in relation to actions specific to the relevant public bodies, and submit the report to the National Oversight and Audit Commission (NOAC). Following consideration of the monitoring report, the Commission may make recommendations to the Minister in relation to relevant measures to further support the implementation of the RSES.

Section 26 of the Act provides that a regional assembly must undertake a review of its RSES not later than 6 years after making its strategy, and thereafter must review that strategy not less than once every 6 years. When so reviewing, a regional assembly may revoke the strategy or make a new RSES. Where a new strategy is made, it will be subject to the same procedures and public consultation process as provided for in the Act, and will supersede any previous RSES.

I am satisfied that there is sufficient in-built scope in the current statutory processes, including biannual reporting between the regional assemblies and relevant public bodies and local authorities in monitoring progress in relation to the implementation of the RSES, and the interaction between the county development plans and RSES, to take account of any changes that may be required to reflect and maintain appropriate planning and sustainable principles over the lifetime of the RSES.