Departmental Advertising Data

Ceisteanna (467)

Robert Troy

Ceist:

467. Deputy Robert Troy asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government the amount spent on advertising in 2018 and to date in 2019 on Brexit; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [53747/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Housing)

My Department has incurred no expenditure on advertising relating to Brexit in 2018 or to date in 2019 . Awareness-raising on Brexit issues related to policies areas under my responsibility has been through direct online communications with those potentially impacted, information resources (e.g. online content, leaflets, editorial content in sectoral publications) as well as stakeholder and sectoral engagement.

Personal Injury Claims

Ceisteanna (468)

Robert Troy

Ceist:

468. Deputy Robert Troy asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government if the personal injury compensation payout will be published for each county council in each of the years 2016 to 2018 and to date in 2019, in tabular form. [53782/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Housing)

Local Authorities are independent statutory bodies responsible, through the Chief Executive and the elected Council, for the execution of executive and reserved functions. Therefore, local authorities are  accountable for all expenditure incurred including for personal injury claims. I have no function in relation to the matters raised and consequently the information requested is not available in my Department. Such information should be available from individual local authorities.

Personal Injury Claims

Ceisteanna (469)

Robert Troy

Ceist:

469. Deputy Robert Troy asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government if the personal injuries payouts will be published for properties under the ownership of his Department in each of the years 2016 to 2018 and to date in 2019, in tabular form. [53795/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Housing)

My Department is lead tenant in a number of Government Offices, however the properties it occupies are rented or leased by the Office of Public Works, and  are not directly under the ownership of the Department. Office space in the case of Met Éireann for the placement of meteorological equipment and staff accommodation at Dublin, Shannon and Cork Airports is rented rather than owned.

All claims against state properties including those rented or leased by my Department are handled by the State Claims Agency, which operates under the aegis of the National Treasury Management Agency.

Home Loan Scheme

Ceisteanna (470)

Brendan Smith

Ceist:

470. Deputy Brendan Smith asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government his plans to improve the criteria for the home loan scheme particularly the requirement of a 10% deposit; if some provision can be made to lessen this demand for applicants that have a good track record in renting private property; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [53827/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Housing)

The Rebuilding Ireland Home Loan Scheme is designed to enable credit worthy first-time buyers to access sustainable mortgage lending to purchase new or second-hand properties. The low rate of fixed interest associated with the Rebuilding Ireland Home Loan provides first-time buyers with access to mortgage finance that they may not otherwise have been able to afford at a higher interest rate.

To support prudential lending and consistency of treatment for borrowers, a Loan to Value ratio of 90% applies to the Rebuilding Ireland Home Loan as per the Central Bank's prudential lending guidelines. Therefore, in order to avail of the loan, applicants must have a deposit equivalent to 10% of the market value of the property.  There are no plans to change this criterion.

For prospective purchasers of newly-built properties, the availability, through the Revenue Commissioners, of the Help to Buy Initiative for first-time buyers may provide additional assistance to prospective applicants for the Rebuilding Ireland Home Loan.

Further information, including a Frequently Asked Questions section, is available on the Rebuilding Ireland Home Loan website at http://rebuildingirelandhomeloan.ie.

Wastewater Treatment

Question No. 472 answered with Question No. 461.

Ceisteanna (471)

Brendan Smith

Ceist:

471. Deputy Brendan Smith asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government when the new grant scheme to upgrade domestic septic tanks will be introduced; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [53828/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Housing)

I approved a new funding scheme for on-site wastewater treatment systems (more commonly known as septic tanks) under the Multi-Annual Rural Water Programme to replace the current grant which was brought into operation by the Domestic Waste Water Treatment System (Financial Assistance) Regulations 2013.  The grant scheme is also being expanded to support the attainment of water quality objectives in what are called ‘high status objective catchment’ water areas and ‘prioritised areas for action’, as identified in the River Basin Management Plan for Ireland 2018-2021

In developing the necessary regulatory and administrative changes to underpin the revised and improved grants scheme, my Department has over recent months met and consulted with key stakeholders, including the County and City Management Association, the Local Authority Waters Programme and the Environmental Protection Agency.

My Department also required legal advice in relation to the drafting of the regulations which are required for the new grant scheme. I am advised that this process is almost complete and I hope to make an announcement on the commencement of the new scheme very shortly.

Question No. 472 answered with Question No. 461.

Departmental Expenditure

Ceisteanna (473)

Fergus O'Dowd

Ceist:

473. Deputy Fergus O'Dowd asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government the capital expenditure by his Department in County Louth and east County Meath by location and facility provided or commenced in each of the past four years; the location and purpose of each such expenditure; the new and improved services provided as a result; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [53846/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Housing)

My Department has a wide and diverse business agenda, covering a broad range of functions, including local authority housing, voluntary housing, homeless services, estate regeneration, energy efficiency retrofitting, housing grants, rural water schemes, urban regeneration, and fire services. In order to achieve its business objectives, the Department allocates significant resources to an extensive range of organisations, including local authorities, dedicated agencies, and other bodies; some allocations, depending on the programmes concerned, are made on a national or other non-county basis.  In these circumstances, the information requested is not readily available in my Department and its compilation would involve a disproportionate amount of time and work. However, there is a significant volume of information available on the Rebuilding Ireland website, including quarterly social housing construction status reports, which detail the activity by local authority area, with the latest report for Q3 2019 available at https://rebuildingireland.ie/news/minister-murphy-publishes-social-housing-construction-status-report-for-q3-2019/

 If the Deputy is interested in a more specific issue concerning funding from my Department, and tables a Parliamentary Question in that regard, I will endeavour to provide the information sought.

Departmental Staff Data

Ceisteanna (474)

Mattie McGrath

Ceist:

474. Deputy Mattie McGrath asked the Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht the number of new staff recruited to her Department from January 2019 to date; the title of each employment position; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [53639/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Culture)

The information requested by the Deputy is set out in the following table. I am advised that these staff were recruited both to fill new posts and to replace staff who left the Department on retirement, promotion, transfer or otherwise.

Grade

Number of staff new to the Department recruited in 2019

Assistant Secretary

1

Principal Officer

1

Assistant Principal

14

Administrative Officer

2

Higher Executive Officer

6

Executive Officer

11

Clerical Officer

17

Service Officer

3

Archivist Grade III

3

Conservation Ranger

13

Wildlife Inspector Grade III

4

Industrial Grades

2

Total

77

Waterways Ireland Funding

Ceisteanna (475)

Brendan Smith

Ceist:

475. Deputy Brendan Smith asked the Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht the capital funding allocated to Waterways Ireland for 2019; the projected expenditure at year end; the proposed allocation for 2020; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [53696/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Culture)

Waterways Ireland is responsible for the management, maintenance, development and restoration of 1,000 km of the inland navigable waterway system throughout the island, principally for recreational purposes, including the Lower Bann Navigation, the Erne System, the Shannon-Erne Waterway, the Shannon Navigation, the Grand Canal, the Royal Canal and the Barrow Navigation.

Waterways Ireland is co-funded by my Department and the Department for Infrastructure in Northern Ireland. The current expenditure of the body is funded 85% by my Department and 15% by the Department for Infrastructure which reflects the distribution of the navigable waterways in each jurisdiction. Capital expenditure is funded 100% in the jurisdiction in which the capital works are carried out. In addition to this, development work has been sustained through attracting third part investment from a wide range of sources.

Waterways Ireland's work programmes are critical to providing a safe and high quality recreational environment for the public, whilst also preserving the industrial and environmental heritage of the waterways for future generations, balanced with the objective of increasing recreational activity across all our waterways.

The amount of capital funding allocated to Waterways Ireland from my Department's Vote for 2019 is €4,380,000 - an increase of €800,000 on the 2018 allocation. Waterways Ireland anticipates spending the full allocation by year end and the final outturn of expenditure for 2019 will be published as part of the 2019 Appropriation Account in due course. Full details of the allocations for 2020 will be finalised and published as part of the 2020 Revised Estimates Volume.

Wildlife Conservation

Ceisteanna (476)

Brendan Smith

Ceist:

476. Deputy Brendan Smith asked the Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht if there has been a response from the REACH Committee of the European Union in relation to the documents submitted some time ago in view of the ongoing concerns of the regional game councils and farmers regarding the EU draft regulation on the use of lead in gunshot; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [53701/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Culture)

The Agreement on the Conservation of African-Eurasian Migratory Waterbirds (AEWA) was developed under the UN Convention on Migratory Species. Ireland signed up to the Agreement in 2003. The agreement includes a commitment that “Parties shall endeavour to phase out the use of lead shot for hunting in wetlands as soon as possible in accordance with self-imposed and published timetables." This is because there is slow accumulation of lead from shot in wetlands where hunting occurs. The lead is generally harmful in the environment and can also be consumed by wildfowl.

Since the Agreement was signed, the European Commission has published a draft Regulation for consideration by Member States on the use of lead shot in wetlands following a report on the matter by the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA). It is my understanding that the proposal, should it ultimately progress into law, would make provision for a lead-in time to facilitate the making of arrangements to source alternatives to lead shot.

The Department is aware that any change to the regulations around the use of lead in gunshot could provide a range of difficulties to transition to new guns/gunshot for many gun owners in Ireland, including farmers and hunters, as many gun owners could have to make alternative arrangements, in many cases to purchase new guns.

The Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, and the other relevant Government departments, are fully committed to ensuring that this matter is addressed in consultation with all relevant stakeholders, including farmer and hunters, and that all potential impacts are fully considered. This process of consultation is continuing. All proposals will be comprehensively evaluated, including extended lead-in times.

My Department recently submitted a document for circulation to the REACH Committee of the European Union suggesting an extended lead-in time to enable hunters and farmers and other stakeholders in the country to make the necessary arrangements and this will be considered by that Committee in the context of future meetings.

Arts Funding

Ceisteanna (477)

Martin Heydon

Ceist:

477. Deputy Martin Heydon asked the Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht the terms and conditions of the per cent for art scheme under public procurement capital projects; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [53725/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Culture)

The Percent for Art Scheme is a voluntary initiative, whereby Government Departments and public bodies may invest up to one percent of the total budget for capital investment projects in public art. The public art investment under the scheme is controlled by defining investment bands and by applying maximum amounts which may be invested. The funding for the scheme must be met from within existing project budgets.

Current Guidelines on the Per Cent for Art Scheme are available on the Public Art website www.publicart.ie. The guidelines set out how project managers are to operate the scheme and provide a common national approach to its implementation. Under the terms of the Scheme, such works are factored into and funded from the overall budget of each capital project by the public body undertaking it

In July of this year, I announced the completion of a review of the Percent for Art scheme. The outcome of this review led to changes to the scheme’s bands and limits which will make significantly increased funding available to the creative community. The new limits and bands will apply from 1st January 2020 and details may be seen on my Department’s website at https://www.chg.gov.ie/minister-madigan-announces-measures-to-significantly-increase-funding-for-public-art/

I will shortly be re-establishing an inter-agency group to improve information gathering and collation and sharing of best practice on Percent for Art schemes. This group will also link in with the Arts Council and seek to enhance the Council’s existing advisory role in relation to the Scheme.

Departmental Strategies

Ceisteanna (478)

Martin Heydon

Ceist:

478. Deputy Martin Heydon asked the Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht if she will give consideration to establishing a national peatlands park; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [53726/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Culture)

The National Peatlands Strategy provides a long term framework within which all of the peatlands within the State can be managed responsibly in order to optimise their social, environmental and economic contribution to the well-being of this and future generations. The 10 year strategy sets out a cross-governmental approach to managing issues that relate to peatlands, including compliance with EU environmental law, climate change, forestry, flood control, energy, nature conservation, planning, and agriculture. The strategy has been developed in partnership between relevant Government Departments/State bodies and key stakeholders through the Peatlands Council.

Action 28 of the National Peatlands Strategy sets out that a peatlands strategy implementation group would be tasked with considering the creation of a national peatlands park. As a starting point for such consideration, an examination was undertaken in 2017 of existing and potential visitor facilities in the ownership of public, semi-state and voluntary bodies. It was found that there were fifteen peatlands sites in Ireland with features to be expected in a peatlands park ranging from community sites such as Abbeyleix Bog in County Laois to larger peatlands parks such as Lough Boora, in County Offaly which is managed by Bord Na Móna.

The National Parks and Wildlife Service of my Department intends to undertake a feasibility study in 2020 in relation to the creation of a national peatlands/wetlands park and will continue to engage with the relevant agencies and other stakeholders on the matter.

The consideration of peatlands as an amenity forms part of my Department’s EU LIFE programme funded raised bog restoration project and the National Raised Bog Special Areas of Conservation Management Plan 2017-2022. The EU LIFE funded raised bog restoration project is supporting amenity development in a number of raised bog special areas of conservation. Planning is at an advanced stage for community based amenity developments in Ferbane, County Offaly and Mountbellew, County Galway, subject to the granting of planning permission.

The Peatlands Community Engagement Scheme, administered by my Department, has supported the development of a number of community led walking trails and looped walks, local area amenity improvements, education programmes along with a photographic exhibition, environmental surveys, an oral history project, signage, interpretative infrastructure and promotional material in relation to raised bogs in 2018 and 2019.

Departmental Advertising Data

Ceisteanna (479)

Robert Troy

Ceist:

479. Deputy Robert Troy asked the Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht the amount spent on advertising in 2018 and to date in 2019 on Brexit; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [53740/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Culture)

I am advised that my Department has not incurred expenditure in relation to Brexit related advertising in either 2018 or 2019.

Irish Language

Ceisteanna (480)

Colm Brophy

Ceist:

480. Deputy Colm Brophy asked the Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht the supports that exist for naíonraí; and the estimated cost of increasing those supports by 5%. [53770/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Culture)

It is against the backdrop of the relevant measures set out in the Government’s Action Plan for the Irish language - Plean Gníomhaíochta don Ghaeilge 2018-2022 - that both organisations Comhar Naíonraí na Gaeltachta and Gaeloideachas operate in support of early years provision through Irish both in Gaeltacht regions and nationally respectively.

The following table sets out the current level of exchequer funding being provided by my Department to both organisations, via Údarás na Gaeltachta and Foras na Gaeilge respectively. The table also sets out the estimated costs of an increase of 5% in relation to this funding:

-

Amount per annum

Increase of 5%

Gaeloideachas - national support*

€708,562

€35,428

Údarás na Gaeltachta - Administration support for Comhar Naíonraí na Gaeltachta (CNNG)

€535,000

€26,750

Additional Departmental funding to CNNG for the implementation of further key actions in support of the language planning process and the Policy on Gaeltacht Education 2017-2022.

€435,000

€21,750

Total

€1,678,562

€83,928

* Gaeloideachas (funded by Foras na Gaeilge), includes expenditure relating to all areas of Irish medium education, Immersion Education and Irish Medium Preschool Education outside the Gaeltacht, on an all-island basis.

In the interest of completeness, a further measure in support of the early years sector was undertaken by my Department when the maximum capital grant payable under the Community and Language Supports Programme for the upgrade or development of early-years facilities in Gaeltacht regions has been increased from 80% to 95%. Since its introduction in 2018 five facilities has benefited from the increase. As with all requests for assistance under this programme, all applications are assessed on a case-by-case basis and having regard to the demands on the programme as a whole.

It should also be noted that the above funding supports do not include the supports provided for the sector inter alia, by the Department of Children and Youth Affairs under their relevant funding programmes.

Personal Injury Claims

Ceisteanna (481)

Robert Troy

Ceist:

481. Deputy Robert Troy asked the Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht if the personal injuries payouts will be published for properties under the ownership of her Department in each of the years 2016 to 2018 and to date in 2019, in tabular form. [53788/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Culture)

As the Deputy will be aware the State Claims Agency (SCA) manages personal injury and property damage claims on behalf of its client State authorities, their servants or agents, including my Department.

I am advised that information in relation to personal injury claims delegated to the SCA is recorded by reference to the various state agencies overall and not by reference to individual buildings/properties. Key figures relating to the State Claims Agency are set out in the NTMA Annual Report 2018 which is available at http://www.ntma.ie/ The following table, provided by the SCA, shows payments made by my Department during the period 1st January 2016 to 30th November 2019 in respect of all personal injury claims by staff, service users and members of the public irrespective of where the personal injury took place, onsite or offsite. Payments can relate to damages, legal fees and other expert costs.

Year

2016

2017

2018

2019 ( to 30th Nov)

Total

Amount

€160,959

€159,363

€92,608

€233,938

€646,868

It should be noted that claims generally take a number of years to process. As a result the total payment for any year reflects a number of previous years.

Departmental Expenditure

Ceisteanna (482)

Fergus O'Dowd

Ceist:

482. Deputy Fergus O'Dowd asked the Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht the capital expenditure by her Department in County Louth and east County Meath by location and facility provided or commenced in each of the past four years; the location and purpose of each such expenditure; the new and improved services provided as a result; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [53840/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Culture)

I would refer the Deputy to my response to Dáil Question No. 769 of 12th July 2018.

Details of the annual funding allocation to my Department at subhead level are published in the annual Revised Estimates Volume. Through these subheads, my Department administers and delivers a wide range of programmes and measures, descriptions of which are available on its website at http://www.chg.gov.ie/

Expenditure under these programme areas is recorded and accounted for on a national basis and it is not possible to give a regional or county-by-county breakdown of that expenditure. For example, a number of my Department’s programmes are delivered through agencies and other intermediary bodies that operate across county boundaries and in respect of which there is no detailed breakdown on a county basis held by my Department. Groups and organisations that receive grants directly from my Department are not typically constituted on a single-county basis.

In view of this and because of the wide range of my Department’s schemes and programmes, and the large volumes of payments and grants involved, it is not possible to provide the information sought. However, if the Deputy has specific queries relating to a particular programme or grant, I will endeavour to provide him with relevant information in that regard.