Tús Programme

Ceisteanna (253)

Bernard Durkan

Ceist:

253. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection if the situation will be examined in which participants in the Tús scheme who wish to continue employment through the scheme in their local communities are restricted from so doing after one year despite the fact that they can make a significant contribution to their respective communities that subsequently have difficulty replacing them; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [50633/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Employment)

Tús commenced operation in 2011 as a response to the high level of unemployment and the large numbers on the Live Register. It is a community work placement initiative which aims to provide short-term work opportunities for those who are unemployed for more than a year.

The duration of the Tús contract is a maximum of 12 months and this ensures that as many people as possible, who are unemployed for over 12 months, are able to benefit from the initiative. There are no circumstances whereby a participant can be allowed to remain on the scheme after they have completed their 12 month contract.

If a person is interested in pursuing a work placement with training and development opportunities, it is open to them to apply for a placement on a Community Employment (CE) scheme. CE participants between 21 and 55 years are entitled to one year on the programme. This can be extended by up to 2 more years if they are engaged in a recognised training or education award that is helping them progress towards employment. All CE participants age 55 and over can avail of 3 consecutive years on a CE scheme. The overall limit of participation on CE is 6 years from 1st January 2007 (7 years if on a disability payment).

Participants aged 62 and over are allowed to participate on a continuous basis up to the State Pension age on the CE Service Support Stream (SSS). A limited number of SSS places are available and these are subject to certain criteria.

The Department keeps all aspects of its activation programmes under review to ensure the best outcomes for participants and communities whilst also having regard to the, thankfully, much reduced number of people claiming jobseeker payments and the increasing number of job opportunities. At present, there are no plans to change the duration of the Tús placements.

Community Welfare Services Provision

Ceisteanna (254)

Bernard Durkan

Ceist:

254. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the extent to which community welfare services remain readily accessible in all areas throughout County Kildare with particular reference to meeting out of hours and emergency needs in circumstances in which it is necessary; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [50634/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Employment)

Community Welfare Services in the South Kildare are based in three main centres: Naas, Newbridge and Athy. The service is accessible by telephone call, followed up by appointments and home visits as required. Telephone lines are open at all times and all customers have their call returned within one working day. This eliminates the need for customers to travel to and Intreo Centre or Health Centre and queue for service. Emergencies are prioritised and dealt with in a timely manner.

Contact details for the service are as follows:

Area

Phone Number

Athy - Castledermot

087 9138246

Dunlavin – Ballitore - Baltinglass

086 0202997

Monasterevin – Rathangan - Kildare

087 9638588

Newbridge – Curragh - Suncroft

086 7810420

Clane – Kilmeague – Prosperous – Robertstown - Allenwood

087 2950536

Naas – Caragh – Sallins – Johnstown – Kill - Kilcullen

087 7806165

Community Welfare Services in North Kildare are based in two main centres: Celbridge and Maynooth. The service is accessible by telephone call and email, followed up by appointments and home visits as required. Telephone lines and email are open at all times and all customers will have their call or email returned within one working day. This eliminates the need for customers to travel to and Intreo Centre or Health Centre and queue for service. Emergencies are prioritised and dealt with in a timely manner.

The North Kildare Community Welfare Services provide 2 mobile telephone numbers to the local Garda Stations in the event of out of hour’s emergencies.

Clinic Location/Areas Covered

Phone

Email

Celbridge Health Centre:Celbridge, Kilcock, Ardclough and Newtown

01 6303196Emergency No. 087 7907657

cwscelbridgekilcock@welfare.ie

Maynooth Health Centre:Maynooth, Leixlip, Straffan, Rathcoffey, Clonee and Dunboyne (Co. Meath)

01 6706743Emergency No. 087 0683820

cwsmaynoothleixlip@welfare.ie

Community Welfare Services for North West Kildare (Derrinturn, Carbury, Johnstownbridge, Clogherinkoe, Broadford, Moyvalley & surrounds) are catered for by the Community Welfare Officers based in the Intreo Centre, Carrick Road, Edenderry.

Clinic Location/Areas Covered

Phone

Clinic Times

Intreo Centre,Carrick Road, Edenderry: (Derrinturn, Carbury, Johnstownbridge, Clogherinkoe, Broadford, Moyvalley and surrounds. Derrinturn Health Centre:Derrinturn, Co Kildare

076 6285100 046 9733522 Emergencies and out of hours contact no.: 087 2779236

By appointment Thursday 10.00am -12.00 noon

I trust this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.

Disability Allowance Applications

Ceisteanna (255)

Tom Neville

Ceist:

255. Deputy Tom Neville asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the status of a disability allowance application by a person (details supplied); and if she will make a statement on the matter. [50643/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Employment)

I confirm that an application from this gentleman for disability allowance (DA) was received by the Department on 20 May 2019.

The processing time for individual DA claims may vary in accordance with their relative complexity in terms of the three main qualifying criteria, the person’s circumstances and the information they provide in support of their claim.

The application has been referred to a Social Welfare Inspector (SWI) for a report on the person’s means and circumstances. Once the SWI has submitted his/her report to DA section, a decision will be made on the application and this gentleman will be notified directly of the outcome.

I trust this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.

Public Consultation Process

Ceisteanna (256)

Niamh Smyth

Ceist:

256. Deputy Niamh Smyth asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government the public consultations held by his Department in 2018 and to date in 2019; the date on which such consultations were held by county; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [50451/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Housing)

Details of the public consultations held by my Department in 2018 and to date in 2019 are available on the Department's website at the following link:

 www.housing.gov.ie/search/archived/current/type/public-consultations.

In addition, there have been ten public consultations in the period 2018-2019, not included on the website.  Eight of these were specific to a single county and two were events co-hosted with the Department of Health.  Please see the attached table for details. 

Separately, my Department has a legislative remit to host public consultations on proposed developments in the area of foreshore.  These consultations are also available on my Department's website at the following link:

www.housing.gov.ie/planning/foreshore/applications/overview.

Social and Affordable Housing Data

Ceisteanna (257)

John Curran

Ceist:

257. Deputy John Curran asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government the percentage of new social and affordable houses and apartments built in each of the years 2015 to 2018 and to date in 2019 that have been timber frame houses and apartments; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [50471/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Housing)

Rebuilding Ireland commits to deliver more than 50,000 social homes by the end of 2021 through a combination of delivery mechanisms.

These include build, acquired and leased homes to be delivered either directly by local authorities, or in partnership with Approved Housing Bodies. New build homes may also be delivered through turn-key arrangements with private developers or delivered for social housing under Part V.

New build homes are advanced utilizing a range of building methods, including timber frame, RAPID technology and traditional, block built construction methods. 

My department does not collect data on the breakdown of building methods, rather we work to ensure that all new social homes are delivered to the very highest standards. To this end, all new dwellings must comply with Building Regulations, Building Control requirements and achieve a 60 year durability for all key elements.  

It should be noted that rapid delivery construction systems must comply with an appropriate Irish Standard, Agrément Certificate or European technical Assessment or equivalent, demonstrating compliance with Irish Building Regulations.

I am confident that the thousands of new social homes being delivered nationwide will provide safe, sustainable housing for many generations to come. 

Planning Guidelines

Ceisteanna (258)

Aindrias Moynihan

Ceist:

258. Deputy Aindrias Moynihan asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government the legislative changes planned following the result of a court case (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [50476/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Housing)

Following engagement between the European Commission and my Department regarding the European Court of Justice ruling in the "Flemish Decree" case, a working group was established to review and, where necessary, recommend changes to the 2005 Planning Guidelines on Sustainable Rural Housing, issued under section 28 of the Planning and Development Act 2000, as amended.  The working group comprises senior officials from the Planning Division of my Department and senior officials from the Planning Divisions of local authorities, nominated by the local government sector.

Taking account of the engagement with the European Commission regarding revisions to the 2005 Rural Housing Guidelines and subject to the completion of the ongoing deliberations by the working group, I will be in a position to finalise and issue to planning authorities revisions to the 2005 Guidelines that take account of the relevant European Court of Justice judgment.

The revision of the Rural Housing Guidelines does not require amendments to the planning legislation.

Nursing Homes Support Scheme Administration

Ceisteanna (259)

Róisín Shortall

Ceist:

259. Deputy Róisín Shortall asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government if he will arrange discussions with the Minister for Health regarding the need in the context of the housing crisis to reform the operation of the fair deal scheme in order to encourage participants in the scheme to make their homes available for letting in order to alleviate the housing shortage; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [50487/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Housing)

The Review of the Nursing Homes Support Scheme (NHSS), also known as the Fair Deal Scheme, was published by the Minister for Health in July 2015.  A Working Group is overseeing the implementation of its recommendations, including any legislative changes that may be required.

Action 17 of the Strategy for the Rental Sector, published in December 2016, undertakes to examine the treatment under the NHSS’s financial assessment of income from the rental of a person’s principal private residence (PPR), where they move into long-term residential care. This examination aims to explore the potential to encourage vacant accommodation to be brought into active use.

Action 3D of the National Vacant Housing Reuse Strategy 2018-2021 also commits my Department to work in close partnership with the Department of Health to examine possible measures to address vacant homes when an owner moves to nursing home care under the Nursing Home Support Scheme.

My Department is currently engaging with the Department of Health in relation to these actions.  The Department of Health has received legal advice that changes to the treatment of rental income in the Fair Deal Scheme would require primary legislation.  Both Departments are exploring proposals to enable vacant properties owned by patients in long-term nursing home care to be brought back into early use, through adjustments to the treatment of rental income and house sale proceeds derived from a PPR in the financial assessment of income for the purposes of the Fair Deal Scheme. 

Legislative amendments to the Nursing Homes Support Scheme Act 2009, under the remit of the Minister for Health, are required to remove any disincentive in the financial assessment under the Nursing Home Support Scheme (Fair Deal Scheme) to both the renting out and the selling of the homes of participants in or applicants for the Scheme. Discussions are ongoing between Department officials in this regard in the context of progressing any appropriate amendments through the Nursing Homes Support Scheme (Amendment) Bill, being developed by the Department of Health. Arrangements for discussions at Ministerial level will be made, if necessary, to ensure that satisfactory progress is achieved.

It will remain a personal choice for any individual as to whether or not they wish to sell or rent out their home upon taking up residence in a nursing home.

Housing Loans

Ceisteanna (260)

Robert Troy

Ceist:

260. Deputy Robert Troy asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government if he will review the terms of the Rebuilding Ireland home loan in order to include persons who are included on a previous mortgage but who have suffered a marital break-up in the meantime. [50488/19]

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.

Housing Assistance Payment Data

Ceisteanna (261)

Darragh O'Brien

Ceist:

261. Deputy Darragh O'Brien asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government the number of persons aged 18 to 24 years of age who are receiving housing supports in the form of a HAP and or RAS tenancy; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [50508/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Housing)

The Housing Assistance Payment (HAP) Scheme and the Rental Accommodation Scheme (RAS) play a vital role in the provision of housing supports for eligible families and individuals.  

The HAP Shared Services Centre (SSC) provides a highly effective transactional service on behalf of all 31 local authorities, and hosts a national HAP tenancy database.  Data provided by the SSC indicates that the number of active HAP tenancies where the primary applicant is aged between 18-24 is 2,877.

My Department does not hold information on the age demographic of tenants accommodated under RAS.

Prisoner Welfare

Ceisteanna (262)

Darragh O'Brien

Ceist:

262. Deputy Darragh O'Brien asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government the status of plans to enhance inter-agency arrangements to ensure that accommodation, welfare and health supports for prisoners are in place prior to their release. [50516/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Housing)

One of the commitments made in Rebuilding Ireland, Action Plan for Housing and Homelessness is that the State will enhance inter-agency arrangements to ensure that accommodation, welfare and health supports for prisoners are in place prior to their release. 

An inter-agency protocol, developed by the Irish Prison Service in consultation with the Health Service Executive, Department of Employment and Social Protection and the City and County Managers Association, is now in place.  Under Rebuilding Ireland, the Irish Prison Service funds the Irish Association for Social Integration Opportunities to provide 11 Resettlement Coordinators in its closed prisons.  Resettlement Officers liaise with single-points-of-contact in local authorities in advancing applications for housing supports.

The Implementation Plan for Housing First, published in September 2018, is delivering permanent housing solutions with appropriate wrap around supports for rough sleepers and long-term users of emergency accommodation. A dedicated Housing First stream is in place for prisoners and other persons convicted before the courts with high support needs who would otherwise be homeless on release from custody.

Homelessness Strategy

Ceisteanna (263)

Darragh O'Brien

Ceist:

263. Deputy Darragh O'Brien asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government the status of plans to strengthen the existing housing-led approach in Dublin and extend it to other urban areas focusing on persistent rough sleepers and long-term homeless households. [50517/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Housing)

Housing First enables homeless individuals with high levels of complex needs to obtain permanent secure accommodation with the provision of intensive housing and health supports to help them maintain their tenancies.

The National Implementation Plan for Housing First, published in September 2018, extends the delivery of Housing First nationally, with the introduction of targets for each local authority. The Plan includes an overall target of 663 tenancies in the period 2018-2021.  The implementation of the Plan is a joint initiative of the Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government, the Department of Health, the HSE and the local authorities. 

In line with the National Implementation Plan, Housing First is being delivered on a regional basis by the local authorities and the HSE. A copy of the National Implementation Plan is available on my Department's website at the following link:  www.housing.gov.ie/housing/homelessness/housing-first-national-implementation-plan-2018-2021.

Emergency Accommodation Data

Ceisteanna (264)

Darragh O'Brien

Ceist:

264. Deputy Darragh O'Brien asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government the status of plans to examine and analyse the reason offers of accommodation are not taken up by households in emergency accommodation in hotels. [50518/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Housing)

Supporting families and individuals experiencing homelessness is a priority for this Government.  Local authorities and their service delivery partners work with households to identify and secure an exit from homelessness into an independent tenancy. Where appropriate, households are provided with the necessary supports to ensure that they are equipped to sustain a tenancy. 

Local authorities have reported incidences of households refusing offers of housing. Generally, the reasons for the refusal of an offer of a home relate to the location of the property or the tenure type.  In such instances, local authorities and their service delivery partners continue to work with the household to identify and secure a suitable home.  The introduction of the Homeless HAP Place Finder service on a national basis, in 2018, is assisting households to identify and secure HAP-supported tenancies in the private rented market. The Department has approved funding for 23 dedicated Place Finder Officers to work directly with families in this regard.

Homelessness Strategy

Ceisteanna (265, 266)

Darragh O'Brien

Ceist:

265. Deputy Darragh O'Brien asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government the status of plans to extend the Threshold tenancy protection service nationwide. [50521/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Darragh O'Brien

Ceist:

266. Deputy Darragh O'Brien asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government his plans to roll out a national awareness campaign targeted at families and persons at risk of losing their homes. [50522/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Housing)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 265 and 266 together.

Supporting individuals and families experiencing homelessness is a priority for this Government. Rebuilding Ireland, the Government's Action Plan on Housing and Homelessness includes a range of measures  relating to the provision of emergency accommodation and the range of supports to be provided to households experiencing homelessness.  In addition the Plan places a strong emphasis on Homeless prevention, both for households at risk in the rented sector and home owners.

The focus of Government remains on preventing homelessness to the greatest extent possible.   Budget 2020 reflects the commitment of the Government in this regard, with an allocation of €166m for homeless services by local authorities this year, an increase of €20m on the 2019 allocation. While much of this funding is used to address families already in homelessness, a significant portion goes towards initiatives aimed at prevention and tenancy sustainment. This funding supports services to prevent families having to enter emergency accommodation and to ensure that those families in emergency accommodation are supported to identify and secure an independent tenancy within the shortest possible timeframe. 

Threshold, the housing charity, already operates the Tenancy Protection Service (TPS) on a national basis.  The service provides advice and support to households living in private rented accommodation who are experiencing tenancy problems, including where a tenancy is at risk of termination. The TPS seeks to protect existing tenancies, keeping people in their home and preventing them from having to access homeless services. This service has been an important contributor to limiting the growth in homelessness.  Following a commitment in the context of Rebuilding Ireland, the Department has been supporting Threshold to deliver these services on an ongoing basis and allocated €800,000 for these purposes in 2019. The Tenancy Protection Service freephone operated by Threshold has been operating nationwide since 2017.

The Rental Tenancies Board (RTB) is also focusing on education and awareness amongst those living and working in the rental sector. Changes to the legislation, such as the introduction of Rent Pressure Zones, continue to feature heavily in education and information provision to landlords and tenants. The RTB continues to highlight the new requirements for tenancies located within Rent Pressure Zones, as well as promoting the role of the RTB to support tenants and landlords understand these new requirements, such as the RTB RPZ Calculator. Tenants and landlords are encouraged to contact the RTB to find out more information about Rent Pressure Zones, or to find out what to do if they believe they are being charged an incorrect rent.

Planning Guidelines

Ceisteanna (267)

Róisín Shortall

Ceist:

267. Deputy Róisín Shortall asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government his plans to introduce new planning regulations to ensure that cinemas must have railings and or strip-lighting on gangways to assist those with visual impairment or other disabilities; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [50529/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Housing)

The Building Regulations set out the legal requirements in Ireland for the construction of new buildings (including houses), extensions to existing buildings as well as for material alterations and certain material changes of use to existing buildings. The related Technical Guidance Documents (Parts A - M respectively) provide technical guidance on how to comply with the regulations in practical terms.  Where works are carried out in accordance with the relevant technical guidance, such works are considered to be, prima facie, in compliance with the relevant regulation(s). Technical Guidance Documents are free to view/download on my Department's website at the following link:

www.housing.gov.ie/housing/building-standards/tgd-part-d-materials-and-workmanship/Technical-guidance-documents.

In this context, the Building Regulations (Part M Amendment) Regulations 2010, which came into effect on 1 January 2012, set out the minimum statutory requirements that a building must achieve in respect of access. The accompanying Technical Guidance Document M – Access and Use (2010) provides guidance on how to comply with the requirements.  

 The requirements of Part M aim to ensure that regardless of age, size or disability:

- new buildings other than dwellings are accessible and usable;

- extensions to existing buildings other than dwellings are, where practicable, accessible and useable;

- material alterations to existing buildings other than dwellings increase the accessibility and usability of existing buildings, where practicable;

- certain changes of use to existing buildings other than dwellings increase the accessibility and usability of existing buildings where practicable; and

new dwellings are visitable.

Section 1.5. of Part M provides guidance on ensuring that facilities such as lecture/conference facilities in hotels or offices, educational buildings, theatres, cinemas, sports facilities in stadia and sports centres are accessible to and useable for people with a wide range of abilities, e.g. people with vision or hearing impairment, people with intellectual disabilities, people with mental impairment, ambulant disabled people, wheelchair users and people with small children (in buggies).

In regard to lighting in such facilities, Part M provides that rows and seats should be clearly numbered and well lit to assist people with vision impairment.

In regard to handrails, Part M provides that stepped access routes to raked seating areas should have handrails where there is an adjacent wall. Where steps lead to seating, a handrail is needed only on the wall side, so as not to obstruct access to the seating. 

Part M of the Building Regulations aims to foster an inclusive approach to the design and construction of the built environment. While the Part M requirements may be regarded as a statutory minimum level of provision, the accompanying technical guidance encourages building owners and designers to have regard to the design philosophy of universal design and to consider making additional provisions where practicable and appropriate.

Guidance on how to design, build and manage buildings and spaces so that they can be readily accessed and used by everyone, regardless of age, size, ability or disability  is available in 'Building for Everyone, A Universal Design Approach', a National Disability Authority (NDA) publication, which may be accessed at www.nda.ie.

The Building Regulations, including Part M requirements, are subject to ongoing review in the interests of safety and the well-being of persons in the built environment and to ensure that due regard is taken of changes in construction techniques, technological progress and innovation.

Legislative Process

Ceisteanna (268)

Niall Collins

Ceist:

268. Deputy Niall Collins asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government the number of Bills in his Department awaiting Committee Stage. [50551/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Housing)

My Department does not at this time have any Government Bills awaiting Committee stage. The Regulation of Approved Housing Bodies Bill 2019 passed committee stage on 19 November 2019.

Water Services Funding

Ceisteanna (269)

Michael Healy-Rae

Ceist:

269. Deputy Michael Healy-Rae asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government when changes will be implemented to the water well private grant scheme (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [50561/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Housing)

There is a grant currently available, which is funded by my Department through the local authorities, for the provision or necessary improvement of an individual water supply in a house.  This is more commonly called the individual or private wells grant. The grant, subject to certain conditions, assists households dependent on these supplies with the costs incurred in providing such a supply of water for domestic purposes or rectifying serious deficiencies with an existing supply.

Details are available from the local authority concerned or on my Department's website at the following link: www.housing.gov.ie/water/water-services/rural-water-programme/private-wells.

Earlier this year I announced details of the new Multi-Annual Rural Water Programme 2019-2021. This included an improved funding scheme for individual wells and work is at an advanced stage of development for this scheme. The changes that I have approved to the individual wells grant scheme are as follows:

- A maximum grant for rehabilitation works of €3,000 (which represents an increase of 47% on the current maximum grant amount), or where the local authority agrees that the most appropriate solution is to provide a new well, a maximum grant of €5,000;

- Recognising the role of the grant in improving quality, the water treatment element (typically filtration and UV filtration) will qualify for 100% funding up to a maximum of €1,000;

- Up to 85% of other costs would be met, subject to the total combined maximum costs of €3,000 for well rehabilitation or €5,000 for a new well.

I expect that the procedures for applying under this new scheme will be completed shortly when the necessary regulations dealing with the financial assistance arrangements and related administrative matters are put in place.  This will enable circular letters, terms and conditions, guidance and the application forms to issue to local authorities.

Departmental Expenditure

Ceisteanna (270)

Niall Collins

Ceist:

270. Deputy Niall Collins asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government the photography costs for his Department in each of the years March 2011 to 2018 and to date in 2019; the costs incurred from use of the ministerial allowance; the occasions for which photographers were booked; the photographers used; the costs associated with each occasion that a photographer was used in tabular form; if there is a policy in his Department regarding the booking of photographers; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [50575/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Housing)

My Department's policy is that the Department's Press Office generally provides photographic services when required.  However, on occasions a service provider is selected from the OGP panel in line with the procurement framework. No photography costs have been incurred from the Ministerial allowance available to me.

The information requested by the Deputy on expenditure since 2011 has previously been provided in response to Questions No 2875 of 23 July 2019. There have been two occasions since 24 July 2019 when professional photographers were used and the details are set out in the following table.

Occasion

Cost €

Photographer

Receipt by the Department of the Award for Environmental Management Systems (EMS) under the ISO 140012015 International Standard

264.45

Maxwell Photography Ltd

File photographs of Government Offices in Ballina for use in publications

216.82

Lafayette Graduation Services

Freedom of Information Data

Ceisteanna (271)

Barry Cowen

Ceist:

271. Deputy Barry Cowen asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government the number of freedom of information requests made to his Department in each of the years 2016 to 2018 and to date in 2019; the number of requests fully denied by reason; the number of requests partially denied; the number of appeals made against denials; the number of such appeals upheld; the number of such appeals rejected; the number of requests that required a fee; the amount received for freedom of information requests in tabular form; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [50600/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Housing)

My Department received 1,493 Freedom of information requests in the years 2016, 2017, 2018 and 2019 (to 30 November). The breakdown of these requests is contained on the attached spreadsheet.

With regards to the breakdown of requests refused, the information sought is not readily available and its compilation would involve a disproportionate amount of time and work.  The most common reasons for applying exemptions where FOI requests have been refused during the time period included:

- Records do not exist or cannot be found

- Records are commercially sensitive

- Records are subject to deliberative process

- Records are legally privileged

- Records are in the public domain.

Freedom of Information Requests received by DHPLG

2016

2017

2018

Up to 30th November 2019

FOI Requests Granted

                  89

                  97

               131

                  76

FOI Requests Part-granted

               110

                103

               120

                  81

FOI Requests Refused

                  82

                  86

               121

                  64

FOI Requests Transferred

                  14

                  12

                    1

                    1

FOI Requests Withdrawn/Lapsed

                  98

                  53

                  82

                  44

FOI Requests Pending in 2019

                  28

Total FOI Requests Received

               393

                351

               455

                294

Internal Reviews - Original Decision Upheld

                  15

                    7

                    9

                    6

Internal Reviews - Original Decision Varied 

                    2

                    2

                    6

                    1

Internal Reviews - Pending Decision

                     -

                     -

                     -

                    1

Internal Reviews - Withdrawn

                    1

                     -

                     -

                     -

Total Internal Reviews received

                  18

                    9

                  15

                    8

Amount of S&R Fees

 €    1,407.00

 €    1,018.00

 €    1,290.00

 €       700.00

Internal Review Fee

 €       320.00

 €       270.00

 €       330.00

 €       180.00

Number of FOI Requests that required S&R Fee

                    9

                    5

                    6

                    2

Public Consultation Process

Ceisteanna (272)

Niamh Smyth

Ceist:

272. Deputy Niamh Smyth asked the Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht the public consultations held by her Department in 2018 and to date in 2019; the date on which such consultations were held by county; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [50444/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Culture)

The information requested by the Deputy in relation to public consultations undertaken by my Department in 2018 and to date in 2019 are set out in the table below:

Year

Details of Public Consultation

Date and location of consultations held (as applicable)

2017-2018

Decade of Centenaries – Public call for submissions to assist the Expert Advisory Group on Commemorations in advising Government on the State's approach to the commemoration of significant historical events that took place between 1918 and 1923

Consultation period 30 October 2017 to 28th of February 2018. Open consultation -postal and email campaign

2018

Review of Derogation Process under Article 9(a) of the EU Birds Directive

Consultation period 26 March to 4 May 2018. Open consultation - postal and email campaign

2018

Public Consultation associated with preparation of Hill of Tara Management Plan

From March 2018 Online submissions Community and stakeholder meetings

2018

Skellig Michil Management Plan

Dec 2018- Feb 2019Open consultation – postal and email campaign

2018-2019

November 2018 to March 2019 Heritage Ireland 2030 (Ireland’s new national heritage plan)

Approximately 70 public consultations were held on various dates during the consultation period at different dates.Consultations held in the following counties: Clare, Cork City & County, Donegal, Dublin, Galway City & County, Kildare, Kilkenny, Laois, Limerick, Longford, Mayo, Meath, Monaghan, Offaly, Roscommon, Sligo, Tipperary, Waterford, Westmeath, Wicklow

2018-2019

Draft Regulations and Guidelines on implementation of Section 7(1) of the Heritage Act 2018

Consultation period 21 December 2018 to 31 January 2019. Open consultation - postal and email campaign

2019

Biodiversity Climate Change Adaptation Plan. Public Consultation launched at the National Biodiversity Conference 20th February 2019 by Minister Madigan to a cross-sectoral audience of over 400 delegates. The draft Plan was uploaded to the npws.ie website and adverts were run in the Irish Times, Independent and Examiner.www.npws.ie/news/public-consultation-irelands-biodiversity-sectoral-climate-change-adaptation-plan

The consultation period was 20 February 2019 to 17 April 2019.An overview report on the consultations has been uploaded, along with the final Plan to www.npws.ie/news/biodiversity-climate-change-sectoral-adaptation-plan Open consultation - postal and email campaign.

2019

Climate Change Sectoral Adaptation Plan for Built and Archaeological Heritagewww.chg.gov.ie/heritage/climate-change/the-built-and-archaeological-heritage-climate-change-sectoral-adaptation-plan/

- Galway (Ballinasloe) Stakeholder Workshop 22 January

- Dublin (Dublin City) Stakeholder Workshop 23 January 2019

- Public consultation 15 May-14 June 2019

2019

A key issues paper for public consultation on a review of the use of peat in the horticultural industry has been published. Submissions have been invited on the key issues paper during the three month period closing on 20 January 2020.

14 October 2019- 20 January 2020 Open consultation - postal and email campaign

Offshore Islands

Ceisteanna (273)

Éamon Ó Cuív

Ceist:

273. Deputy Éamon Ó Cuív asked the Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht if she has had discussions with the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government and or Irish Water on the provision of public sewerage services on the islands; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [50514/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Culture)

As the Deputy is aware, my Department is leading the consultation process to inform the preparation of a new cross-government National Policy for the Islands.

I can confirm to the Deputy that the Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government has, in its initial submission to my Department as part of the consultation process, referred to the funding arrangements for domestic wastewater treatment needs on the islands, mostly provided by means of septic tanks. The Department has referred to this in the context of its Rural Water Programme and the flexibility of the scheme to cover potentially higher costs on the islands.

Following consultation with the island communities over the coming months, my Department will be holding bilateral meetings, to discuss issues raised, with all of the relevant Government Departments and other stakeholders, including the Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government.

Legislative Process

Ceisteanna (274)

Niall Collins

Ceist:

274. Deputy Niall Collins asked the Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht the number of Bills in her Department awaiting Committee Stage. [50544/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Culture)

I am advised that my Department currently has no Bills awaiting Third Stage - Committee Stage.

Turf Cutting Compensation Scheme Data

Ceisteanna (275)

Denis Naughten

Ceist:

275. Deputy Denis Naughten asked the Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht the number of turf cutters displaced on each designated bog in which turf cutting has ceased in tabular form; the number who took compensation; the number who sought relocation; the number awaiting relocation; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [50560/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Culture)

Significant efforts have been made by the State to resolve the issue of the protection of Ireland’s raised bog special areas of conservation and natural heritage areas within the framework of the EU Habitats Directive. This has included the establishment of the Peatlands Council, intensive and on-going engagement with turf cutting interests, the farming community, non-governmental organisations and with the European Commission, as well as the establishment of a long-term compensation scheme for affected turf cutters.

The cessation of turf cutting compensation scheme was established in 2011 for active turf cutters arising from the cessation of turf cutting on raised bog special areas of conservation and was extended in 2014 to include natural heritage areas. This scheme is applicable to turf cutters who have been affected by the designation of raised bogs as special areas of conservation and natural heritage areas and who fulfil the qualifying criteria of the scheme. It is comprised of a payment of €1,500 per annum, index-linked, for 15 years, or relocation, where feasible, to a non-designated bog, together with a legal agreement payment of €500.

2,569 applicants are regularly receiving annual payments under the scheme. There are other affected turf cutters, who may qualify under the scheme, who have not yet applied, and it remains open for these turf cutters to apply.

While applicants are waiting for relocation sites to be investigated, prepared and developed, they may, on an interim basis, opt for the annual payment of €1,500 (index-linked) or opt to receive an annual supply of up to 15 tonnes of cut turf delivered to their homes. To date, 1,150 deliveries of turf have been made to applicants.

Of the 2,569 applicants regularly receiving annual payments under the scheme, 263 have applied for relocation to a non-designated bog

Relocation of turf cutters is a complex process. Notwithstanding this, progress in relocation has been achieved in a number of cases and 72 turf cutters from 11 raised bog designated sites have been relocated to non-designated bogs. A further 4 relocation sites in counties Galway, Roscommon and Westmeath, which will accommodate up to 54 turf cutters, have been developed by my Department and are scheduled to be operational from 2020. Relocation sites for a further 6 special areas of conservation have been identified by the Department and are at various stages of development. These could accommodate up to approximately 50 turf cutters. The Department is still investigating suitable relocation sites for a further 7 raised bog special areas of conservation.

For certain designated sites, where a suitable relocation site has not been identified or where the identified relocation site cannot accommodate all applicants who have opted for relocation, the 15 year compensation under the cessation of turf cutting compensation scheme (less any annual payments or the value of turf deliveries received) has been made available to them in the form of a lump sum to enable them to source and purchase bog plots themselves. 61 turf cutters have availed of this option from 8 special areas of conservation and 3 natural heritage areas.

For a number of the protected sites, the non-designated site identified may not be suitable or may not have the capacity to cater for the number of turf cutters who may wish to relocate there. In such cases and within the framework of the National Raised Bog Special Areas of Conservation Management Plan 2017-2022, the Department, in consultation with turf cutter representatives, is considering the available options in terms of relocation and the provisions of the Habitats Directive to provide for turf cutting with certain areas of raised bog special areas of conservation. 14 sites are under consideration for the possible application of article 6 of the Directive.

Details on the number of applicants regularly receiving annual payments under the cessation of turf cutting compensation scheme and the number who have applied for relocation are set out in the following table.

Cessation of Turf Cutting Compensation Scheme

Site Code

Site Name

County of Bog

Number of applicants regularly receiving annual payments

Number of applicants regularly receiving annual payments who have applied for relocation

000006

Killyconny Bog (Cloghbally) cSAC

Roscommon

000221

Moorfield Bog/Farm Cottage NHA

Galway

13

0

000229

Ballygar Bog NHA

Galway

000231

Barroughter Bog cSAC

Galway

94

25

000235

Bracklagh Bog NHA

Galway

000248

Cloonmoylan Bog cSAC

Galway

101

0

000280

Castle Ffrench West Bog NHA

Galway

000281

Keeloges Bog NHA

Galway

20

0

000285

Kilsallagh Bog cSAC

Galway

61

7

000296

Lisnageeragh Bog and Ballinstack Turlough cSAC

Galway

15

2

000297

Lough Corrib cSAC

Galway

111

0

000301

Lough Lurgeen Bog/Glenamaddy Turlough cSAC

Galway

23

4

000307

Lough Tee Bog NHA

Galway

000321

Raford River Bog NHA

Galway

25

1

000326

Shankill West Bog cSAC

Galway

000333

Anna More Bog NHA

Kerry

12

0

000391

Ballynafagh Bog cSAC

Kildare

21

6

000422

Aghnamona Bog NHA

Leitrim

000440

Lough Ree cSAC

Roscommon

336

63

000497

Flughany Bog cSAC

Mayo/Sligo

11

0

000565

Clonydonnin Bog NHA

Westmeath

30

0

000566

All Saints Bog and Esker cSAC

Offaly

000572

Clara Bog cSAC

Offaly

45

2

000580

Mongan Bog cSAC

Offaly

000581

Moyclare Bog cSAC

Offaly

15

0

000585

Sharavogue Bog cSAC

Offaly

000592

Bellanagare Bog cSAC

Roscommon

182

10

000595

Callow Bog cSAC

Roscommon

92

5

000597

Carrowbehy/Caher Bog cSAC

Roscommon

000600

Cloonchambers Bog cSAC

Roscommon

21

1

000604

Derrinea Bog cSAC

Roscommon

000614

Cloonshanville Bog cSAC

Roscommon

000640

Arragh More Bog NHA

Tipperary

27

0

000641

Ballyduff/Clonfinane Bog cSAC

Tipperary

000642

Ballymacegan Bog NHA

Tipperary

000647

Kilcarren-Firville Bog cSAC

Tipperary

000674

Ballynagrenia and Ballinderry Bog NHA

Westmeath

63

2

000677

Cloncrow Bog (New Forest) NHA

Westmeath

000684

Lough Derravaragh NHA

Westmeath

12

0

000694

Wooddown Bog NHA

Westmeath

18

0

000937

Scohaboy Bog NHA

Tipperary

50

3

000993

Ayle Lower Bog NHA

Clare

001227

Aughrim Bog NHA

Galway

13

0

001242

Carrownagappul Bog cSAC

Galway

59

3

001244

Castle Ffrench East Bog NHA

Galway

001254

Derrinlough Bog NHA

Galway

17

1

001405

Cashel Bog (Leitrim) NHA

Leitrim

11

0

001450

Mount Jessop Bog NHA

Longford

001580

Girley Bog NHA

Meath

16

0

001623

Carrickynaghtan Bog NHA

Roscommon

38

0

001812

Lough Garr NHA

Westmeath

001818

Lough Forbes Complex cSAC

Longford

002033

Daingean Bog NHA

Offaly

13

0

002110

Corliskea/Trien/Cloonfelliv Bog cSAC

Galway/Roscommon

80

7

002298

River Moy cSAC

Mayo/Ros/Sligo

21

0

002331

Mouds Bog cSAC

Kildare

139

62

002332

Coolrain Bog cSAC

Laois

55

13

002333

Knockacoller Bog cSAC

Laois

18

5

002336

Carn Park Bog cSAC

Westmeath

45

2

002337

Crosswood Bog cSAC

Westmeath

59

2

002338

Drumalough Bog cSAC

Roscommon

18

1

002339

Ballynamona Bog and Corkip Lough cSAC

Roscommon

60

1

002340

Moneybeg and Clareisland Bogs cSAC

Westmeath

69

2

002341

Ardagullion Bog cSAC

Longford

23

0

002342

Mount Hevey Bog cSAC

Meath/Westmeath

38

2

002343

Tullaher Lough and Bog cSAC

Clare

31

0

002346

Brown Bog cSAC

Longford

002347

Camderry Bog cSAC

Galway

14

6

002348

Clooneen Bog cSAC

Longford

12

1

002349

Corbo Bog cSAC

Roscommon

49

6

002350

Curraghlehanagh Bog cSAC

Galway

33

5

002351

Moanveanlagh Bog cSAC

Kerry

28

0

002352

Monivea Bog cSAC

Galway

49

4

002353

Redwood Bog cSAC

Tipperary

73

0

002355

Hawkswood Bog NHA

Offaly

002356

Ardgraigue Bog cSAC

Galway

22

0

Grand Total

2569

263

Please note that where sites have small numbers of applicants, detailed information has not been shown as doing so risks disclosing personal information relating to the applicants. However, this data has been included in the total figures.

Departmental Expenditure

Ceisteanna (276)

Niall Collins

Ceist:

276. Deputy Niall Collins asked the Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht the photography costs for her Department in each of the years March 2011 to 2018 and to date in 2019; the costs incurred from use of the ministerial allowance; the occasions for which photographers were booked; the photographers used; the costs associated with each occasion that a photographer was used in tabular form; if there is a policy in her Department regarding the booking of photographers; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [50568/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Culture)

The information requested by the Deputy is being compiled and will be provided to the Deputy in accordance with the timelines set out in Standing Orders.

Freedom of Information Data

Ceisteanna (277)

Barry Cowen

Ceist:

277. Deputy Barry Cowen asked the Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht the number of freedom of information requests made to her Department in each of the years 2016 to 2018 and to date in 2019; the number of requests fully denied by reason; the number of requests partially denied; the number of appeals made against denials; the number of such appeals upheld; the number of such appeals rejected; the number of requests that required a fee; the amount received for freedom of information requests in tabular form; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [50593/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Culture)

I am advised that 785 Freedom of Information requests have been received by my Department during the period from January 2016 to date. The information requested by the Deputy is set out in the following table.

FOI Requests Received 2016

Refused

Reasons for Refusals (Section of FOI Act 2014)

Part Granted

Internal Reviews

Upheld

Overturned

Fees charged (including Internal Reviews)

169

40

12(1)(b).15(1)(a),(b),(c),(d),(e).28.29(1).31(1).32(a)(1),(4).35(1),(a),(b).36(1)(a),(b).37(1)(a)

45

7

7

0

€1,722

FOI Requests Received 2017

Refused

Reasons for Refusals (Section of FOI Act 2014)

Part Granted

Internal Reviews

Upheld

Overturned

Fees charged (including Internal Reviews)

158

28

12(1)(b).15(1)(a),(b),(c),(d),(e),(f).28.29(1)(a).31(1)(c).32(a)(1),(4).35(1),(a),(b).36(1)(a),(b),(c).37(1)(a)40.

74

7

6

1

€480

FOI Requests Received 2018

Refused

Reasons for Refusals (Section of FOI Act 2014)

Part Granted

Internal Reviews

Upheld

Overturned

Fees charged (including Internal Reviews)

239

65

12(1)(b).15(1)(a),(b),(c),(d),(e),(f).28.29(1)(a).31(1)(c).32(a)(1),(4).35(1),(a),(b).36(1)(a),(b),(c).37(1)(a)40.

71

5

2

1

€480

FOI Requests Received 2019

Refused

Reasons for Refusals (Section of FOI Act 2014)

Part Granted

Internal Reviews

Upheld

Overturned

Fees charged (including Internal Reviews)

219

40

12(1)(b).15(1)(a),(b),(c),(d),(e),(f).28.29(1)(a).31(1)(c).32(a)(1),(4).35(1),(a),(b).36(1)(a),(b),(c).37(1)(a)40.

57

12

9

1(4 cases still ongoing)

€900