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Gnáthamharc

Thursday, 25 Nov 2021

Written Answers Nos. 225-244

Electric Vehicles

Ceisteanna (225)

Brian Leddin

Ceist:

225. Deputy Brian Leddin asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform the actions the Office of Public Works is taking to provide electric vehicle charging facilities in cases in which staff parking is provided for in buildings owned by the Office of Public Works; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [58127/21]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Public)

The installation of Electrical Vehicle (EV) charging points, in properties owned by the Commissioners of Public Works, is carried out when a request is received from a client Department or agency who occupy a particular building. The OPW will survey the site and assess the necessary civil and electrical works required. A budget estimate of cost is then provided to the client. If they wish to proceed, the OPW will tender the works, place the contract(s) and supervise the installation. The client is responsible for funding the cost of the works and the associated ongoing maintenance and operational costs (electricity charges, administration costs associated with charging users a fee for use, etc.).

National Lottery

Question No. 227 answered with Question No. 226.

Ceisteanna (226, 227)

Bernard Durkan

Ceist:

226. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform if he has received correspondence from the National Lottery in connection with concerns expressed by the public in respect of the inordinate amount of time that the major prize has been carried over; if this is as a result of technical or other reasons; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [58172/21]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Bernard Durkan

Ceist:

227. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform if concerns expressed by persons regarding the carryover of the top National Lottery prize for almost six-months warrants a review which might indicate if this is as a result of policy changes or technical issues such as hacking; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [58175/21]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Public)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 226 and 227 together.

While I have received correspondence from the Deputy which refers, I have not received correspondence from the National Lottery in relation to the capping of the Lotto jackpot at €19,060,800 on September 29th 2021, which will lead to the largest ever jackpot in the history of the game.

As Lotto is a game of chance, the number of times the jackpot rolls over will vary. I understand that the game is currently experiencing a particularly long roll but the opposite can also occur: the jackpot was won three Saturdays in a row earlier this year between late May and early June.

The unpredictable nature of the jackpot being won is illustrated by the jackpots won to date in 2021:

Date

Jackpot €

Draws since last Jackpot Win

Wednesday 27 January 2021

€8,530,884

16

Wednesday 14 April 2021

€12,740,043

22

Saturday 22 May 2021

€6,489,165

11

Saturday 29 May 2021

€2,469,871

2

Saturday 5 June 2021

€2,475,303

2

Saturday 20 November 2021

Not yet won

48 to date

As set out in the Lotto rules, which were set in September 2015 and are published on the National Lottery website, the amount of the jackpot will be capped once it exceeds the highest ever previous jackpot win, and the application of this cap will be for the benefit of prize winners at the highest prize tier for which there is a winner.

The National Lottery Regulator has informed me that once the jackpot cap level is reached the amount normally attributable to the jackpot, being 46.16% of the prize fund of 52% of sales, will be allocated to the next prize tier at which there is a winner. It is important to note that the benefit of the flow down to lower prize tiers is limited to the highest prize tier at which there is a winner.

The Regulator has confirmed that 180 players have won increased prize amounts in the 15 draws subsequent to the new jackpot cap being applied.

The Regulator has also informed me that strict protocols in place to ensure that rigorous testing of equipment takes place before each and every Lotto draw and that each step of the draw process is strictly adhered to. Every Lotto draw is overseen by an independent auditor (KPMG).

Changes to these protocols, to the Lotto game or any National Lottery game, require significant research, technical development and testing. The National Lottery Operator must request and obtain the approval of the Regulator of the National Lottery for any new or amended Lottery games.

The Regulator of the National Lottery is an independent office established by the National Lottery Act 2013, solely to regulate the National Lottery. In assessing any requests from the Operator to change a National Lottery game, the Regulator considers the impact of proposed changes on players, on the long-term sustainability of the National Lottery, and on returns generated for Good Causes.

This is a detailed process. Above all, the Regulator seeks to ensure that the National Lottery is run with all due propriety.

Question No. 227 answered with Question No. 226.

National Lottery

Ceisteanna (228)

Catherine Murphy

Ceist:

228. Deputy Catherine Murphy asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform the amount in unclaimed lotto prizes in each of the years 2016 to 2020 and to date in 2021; the duration of the contract and value of the contract of the independent auditor for the account in which these funds are held; the amount of interest that these funds generate; and the use that is made of accrued interest. [58223/21]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Public)

The National Lottery Regulator has informed me that the National Lottery Operator is required to have a standalone Prize Fund Account that all prize monies are held in and paid from. Where prizes expire unclaimed, the Licence governing the operation of the Lottery provides that the relevant amounts are transferred to the Operator, for use either to top up prizes, or for additional marketing of the Lottery. The bank account in which the Operator keeps such monies, and how much interest it earns or pays on these monies, is a private matter for the Operator. The Operator’s financial accounts are audited by its independent auditor.

The Regulator monitors the Prize Fund Account, and this includes monitoring the transfers of expired unclaimed prizes to the Operator. The Operator must then spend these monies in accordance with Clause 6.9.2 of the Licence. The Regulator also reviews the Operator’s expenditure in this regard and its compliance with the Licence.

The Regulator has provided a breakdown of expired unclaimed National Lottery prizes in each of the years 2016 to 2020 as follows:

Year

Expired Unclaimed Prizes €

2016

€16,359,564

2017

€16,164,125

2018

€18,922,846

2019

€18,993,483

2020

€17,026,536

The Regulator will receive information relevant to 2021 after the financial year end.

National Cultural Institutions

Ceisteanna (229)

Ivana Bacik

Ceist:

229. Deputy Ivana Bacik asked the Minister for Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media if a museum, gallery or collections under her aegis or held by bodies funded by her Department hold artefacts or exhibits claimed by other nations; if so, if she will list these items; the locations in which they are held; and the nation that seeks their return. [58190/21]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Tourism)

I am not aware of any museum, gallery or collections under the aegis of my Department, or bodies funded by my Department, in respect of which there are artefacts or exhibits claimed by other nations.

In keeping with international best practice, cultural institutions under the aegis of my Department have carefully developed policies in relation to the care and management of the national collections, including ethical considerations with respect to the acquisition, holding and exhibition of historic artefacts.

While the National Museum of Ireland (NMI) does not have any outstanding contemporary claims on objects within the ethnographical collection of the institution it is participating in the Digital Benin project, which includes officials from Nigeria as well as museums from across Europe and North America. The project will bring together all Benin holdings worldwide, historical photographs, archival materials, eyewitness accounts, publications and oral traditions to create an internationally accessible information catalogue. While the NMI has not received any specific restitution requests in relation to this material since commencement of the work, a process of conservation and photography of this material is underway in order to enable the Digital Benin project and any attendant opportunities.

Sports Funding

Ceisteanna (230)

Brendan Smith

Ceist:

230. Deputy Brendan Smith asked the Minister for Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media if funding is available for essential improvement works (details supplied); and if she will make a statement on the matter. [58248/21]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Tourism)

In relation to my Department's responsibilities, two schemes provide grant assistance to sports organisations and local authorities for the development of sports facilities.

The Sports Capital and Equipment Programme (SCEP) is the primary vehicle for Government support for the development of sports and physical recreation facilities and the purchase of non-personal sports equipment throughout the country. The 2020 round of the SCEP closed for applications on Monday 1st March 2021. By the closing date, over 3,100 applications were submitted seeking over €200m in funding. This is the highest number of applications ever received.

The scoring system and assessment procedures were published earlier this year and all applications are being assessed accordingly. Approximately one thousand of the submitted applications were for 'equipment-only' projects. These applications were assessed first and grants with a total value of €16.6m were announced on the 6th August.

In relation to the remaining capital applications, assessment work is continuing and every effort is being made to have it complete as quickly as possible. Given the record number of applications received however, it is likely to take a further number of weeks to have these assessments complete. Once these allocations are finalised an announcement on the timing of the next round of the Programme will be made.

Funding is also provided by my Department to Local Authorities under the Large Scale Sport Infrastructure Fund (LSSIF). The LSSIF is designed for projects where the grant sought is greater than the maximum available under the SCEP. The first allocations under the LSSIF were announced in January 2020 and thus far, approximately €86.4m has been awarded to 33 different proposals. The priority in the short term is to advance all of those projects. As it is now over 18 months since the first allocations were made, and in view of the issues faced by grantees as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, it is timely to review progress on all projects. My Department is engaging with all grantees in this regard. The timing of any new call for proposals is also being considered and it is expected that the review will be completed shortly.

Housing Schemes

Ceisteanna (231, 239, 240, 243)

Thomas Gould

Ceist:

231. Deputy Thomas Gould asked the Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage if his attention has been drawn to a company (details supplied) that is leasing homes long-term to local authorities; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [58195/21]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Thomas Gould

Ceist:

239. Deputy Thomas Gould asked the Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage if a person can choose to enter into a mortgage to rent scheme through their local authority or through a subletting agreement through a private company. [58196/21]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Thomas Gould

Ceist:

240. Deputy Thomas Gould asked the Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage the number of long-term lease agreements entered into with a company (details supplied) by local authority in tabular form. [58198/21]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Thomas Gould

Ceist:

243. Deputy Thomas Gould asked the Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage the reason his Department is sanctioning mortgage to rent leasing with a company (details supplied). [58202/21]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Housing)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 231, 239, 240 and 243 together.

The Mortgage to Rent (MTR) scheme introduced in 2012 is targeted at supporting households in mortgage arrears who have had their mortgage position deemed unsustainable by their lender under the Mortgage Arrears Resolution Process (MARP); agree to the voluntary surrender of their home and are deemed eligible for social housing support. The property in question must also meet certain eligibility criteria. The concept of the scheme is that a household with an unsustainable mortgage goes from being a homeowner to being a social housing tenant. The borrower surrenders their property to their lender who sells it to a MTR provider which can be either an Approved Housing Body (AHB) or since 2018 a private company, Home for Life Ltd. The AHB or local authority (in the case where the property is sold to a private company) becomes the landlord and the borrower remains in the property as a tenant paying a differential rent to the landlord based on his or her income.

To the end of September 2021, 1497 households with unsustainable private mortgages have completed the MTR scheme since its introduction nationally in 2013. The 1497 households in the scheme represent 2460 adults and 2091 children who have remained living in their homes and communities. There are currently 850 active cases being progressed under the scheme.

A review of the MTR scheme in 2017 taking account of capacity within the AHB sector given that sector's role in delivering ambitious targets around new social housing supply, also recommended that alternative funding options, including the off-balance sheet potential of private institutional investment, be explored in order to allow the MTR scheme to deliver at scale. An Expressions of Interest (EOI) Request issued in 2017 inviting parties from the private sector to express their interest in participating in a new alternatively funded long-term MTR lease model. The outcome from the EOI process is that a new MTR alternatively funded lease model was announced in 2018 with Home for Life Ltd. as the participant from the private sector.

Under this alternatively funded model, Home for Life Ltd. purchases properties from lenders subsequent to their voluntary surrender by borrowers that meet the MTR eligibility criteria and then enters into a long-term 25 year lease arrangement with the local authority in whose area the property is situated for a defined term at an agreed rent, thereby enabling the borrower to remain living in their own home under a tenancy agreement with the local authority. Home for Life Ltd. is also responsible for managing and maintaining the property on behalf of the local authority in accordance with the lease requirements. The number of MTR cases completed by Home for Life Ltd. broken down by local authority area is detailed in the attached table.

Where an eligible borrower is proposed for the scheme by their lender, the MTR provider that their case will be assigned to depends on a number of factors:

- if a particular MTR provider has an agreement with the lender to purchase properties in which case the property will be assigned to the MTR provider concerned;

- where no such agreement exists, the Housing Agency will invite MTR providers to express an interest in a property and will assign the property to the MTR provider who expresses an interest;

- if both an AHB and Home for Life express an interest in the property, the lender will inform the borrower and the borrower may choose the MTR provider;

- if more than one AHB expresses an interest in the property, the Housing Agency will assign the property to an AHB by way of a random selection process.

Regardless of who the property owner is under the MTR scheme, AHB or Home for Life Ltd., the local authority is obliged to meet the housing needs of social housing tenants indefinitely and beyond the term of the applicable lease arrangement.

AHBs are an integral part of the MTR scheme and their participation in the scheme has enabled and continues to enable a significant number of borrowers to remain in their homes as social housing tenants.

The inclusion of an MTR provider from the private sector has facilitated more individuals and families staying in their homes. Given the sizeable cohort of borrowers still in long-term mortgage arrears, all the MTR providers participating in the scheme are needed in order to meet the demand for the scheme. In all scenarios, my Department and the Housing Agency are focused on meeting the long-term housing needs of the greatest number of households in unsustainable mortgage arrears.

The Programme for Government and Housing for All includes a commitment to strengthen the Mortgage to Rent Scheme and ensure that it is helping those who need it. Building on the significant improvements already made to the scheme since 2017, my Department is currently working closely with the Housing Agency and key stakeholders to identify any further improvements required to the scheme. As set out in Housing For All, the review of the MTR scheme is scheduled to be delivered in Q4 of this year and I expect to be in a position to make an announcement shortly.

Table: MTR cases completed by Home for Life to Q3 2021

Local Authority

Complete

Carlow County Council

15

Cavan County Council

8

Clare County Council

17

Cork City Council

13

Cork County Council

29

Donegal County Council

9

Dublin City Council

21

Dun Laoghaire Rathdown County Council

3

Fingal County Council

27

Galway City Council

1

Galway County Council

10

Kerry County Council

10

Kildare County Council

30

Kilkenny County Council

19

Laois County Council

17

Leitrim County Council

6

Limerick City and County Council

23

Longford County Council

4

Louth County Council

29

Mayo County Council

16

Meath County Council

35

Monaghan County Council

7

Offaly County Council

20

Roscommon County Council

8

Sligo County Council

11

South Dublin County Council

20

Tipperary County Council

32

Waterford City and County Council

31

Westmeath County Council

22

Wexford County Council

26

Wicklow County Council

27

Grand Total

546

Local Authorities

Ceisteanna (232)

Catherine Connolly

Ceist:

232. Deputy Catherine Connolly asked the Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage further to Parliamentary Question No. 362 of 28 September 2021, the status of the review of the position in relation to the filling of the post of the chief executive of Galway County Council on a permanent basis; when the review will be completed; the person or body that is carrying out the review; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [58061/21]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Housing)

I refer to Parliamentary Question 356 of 2 November 2021. The position is unchanged. It is my intention to review the position in relation to the filling of the post of the chief executive of Galway County Council on a permanent basis before the end of the year.

Local Authorities

Ceisteanna (233)

Catherine Connolly

Ceist:

233. Deputy Catherine Connolly asked the Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage further to Parliamentary Question No. 364 of 28 September 2021, the status of the review by the Office of the Planning Regulator of Galway City Council; when the review will be published; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [58062/21]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Housing)

One of the Office of the Planning Regulator’s (OPR) core statutory functions is to conduct reviews of systems and procedures used by local authorities and An Bord Pleanála in the delivery of their planning functions. In this regard the OPR is implementing a programme of reviews under section 31AS of the Planning & Development Act 2000, as amended, whereby each authority in turn will benefit from a review, broadly over a six-year cycle.

The OPR initiated the pilot phase of its reviews programme in late 2020, selecting four authorities for inclusion on the basis of the variety of characteristics, in terms of location, scale, urban / rural settings, etc., across these authorities. The blend of planning contexts offers a good basis for the OPR to test its methodology for conducting reviews and to further inform subsequent phases of the reviews programme.

Galway City Council is included in the pilot phase of the programme, and I understand that the OPR is close to completing the draft report in relation to the general review of Galway City planning functions. In line with the statutory procedure, in the first instance, the draft report will be circulated to both Galway City Council and my Department for a consultation period before it is finalised and published.

It should be noted that arrangements have been put in place by all bodies under the aegis of my Department to facilitate the provision of information directly to members of the Oireachtas. This provides a speedy, efficient and cost effective system to address queries directly to the relevant bodies. The contact email address for the Office of the Planning Regulator is oireachtas@opr.ie.

Local Authorities

Ceisteanna (234)

Catherine Connolly

Ceist:

234. Deputy Catherine Connolly asked the Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage further to Parliamentary Question No. 363 of 28 September 2021, the local authorities that will be reviewed in 2022 by the Office of the Planning Regulator; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [58063/21]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Housing)

My Department has no role with regard to the selection of authorities to be included in the Office of the Planning Regulator's (OPR) programme of general reviews. This is entirely a matter for the OPR, who, in scheduling subsequent phases of the reviews programme, will continue to ensure that a good geographic spread and balance of authorities with varying planning contexts are included. However, in order to be of assistance, I have made enquiries on behalf of the Deputy and I understand that the OPR has yet to select the authorities to be reviewed in 2022 and beyond.

It should be noted that arrangements have been put in place by all bodies under the aegis of my Department to facilitate the provision of information directly to members of the Oireachtas. This provides a speedy, efficient and cost effective system to address queries directly to the relevant bodies. The contact email address for the Office of the Planning Regulator is oireachtas@opr.ie.

Planning Issues

Ceisteanna (235)

Neale Richmond

Ceist:

235. Deputy Neale Richmond asked the Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage the number of planning applications submitted for each local authority area over the past five years; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [58068/21]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Housing)

Planning statistics are compiled by each planning authority on an annual basis for collation and publication on my Department’s website, at the following link:

www.gov.ie/en/service/9e4ee-get-planning-statistics/ .

The data collected relates to the total number of applications and decisions for all developments that require planning permission, broken down by year and planning authority.

In addition, the Central Statistics Office (CSO), as the national statistical office, compiles and makes available detailed data on a number of planning related issues including permissions granted and completions by development type and county. Data is available at the following link on the CSO website: www.cso.ie/en/statistics/construction/planningpermissions/

Property Registration

Ceisteanna (236)

Seán Canney

Ceist:

236. Deputy Seán Canney asked the Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage if he will provide the necessary resources to ensure that the Property Registration Authority of Ireland is fully resourced to carry out its duties in a timely manner; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [57811/21]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Housing)

Although the Property Registration Authority (PRA) falls under the aegis of my Department, the PRA has its own Vote (Vote 23), of which its Chief Executive Officer is the Accounting Officer. In addition, the PRA operates under a delegated staffing sanction from my Department for filling posts up to the grade of Principal Officer.

The staffing complement of the PRA as at 31 October 2021 was 539 (500 full-time equivalents). Active Strategic Workforce Planning is embedded in the PRA and is fully aligned with its new Statement of Strategy 2022-2024, business planning and risk management processes, and it is designed to increase the overall effectiveness of the organisation, and its workforce, in fulfilling its statutory mandate and in achieving its strategic goals.

For the year 2022, the PRA has secured a 6 per cent increase in funding, including an extra €2 million for salaries. This increase in its allocation is to enable the PRA to secure, with the assistance of the Public Appointments Service, suitable staff to fill gaps currently identified in order to continue to deliver services. The PRA is also engaged in the continued development of electronic platforms, landdirect and eRegistration, in order to further digitise the registration process.

Departmental Schemes

Ceisteanna (237)

Eoin Ó Broin

Ceist:

237. Deputy Eoin Ó Broin asked the Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage if he will provide the new housing and assistance payments and rental accommodation scheme targets in each of the years 2022 to 2026. [58143/21]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Housing)

The 'Housing for All' plan sets out the Government’s commitment to increase the supply of housing to an average of 33,000 per year over the next decade, including an average of 10,000 new build social homes.

While specific targets for the Housing Assistance Payment (HAP) and the Rental Accommodation Scheme (RAS) are not set under ‘Housing for All’, the Plan does commit to continuing supports under these schemes while social housing stock is increased.

The projected number for new HAP tenancy set-ups in 2022 is 14,000. The projected number for new RAS tenancy set-ups in 2022 is 800. Projections for future years will be agreed on an annual basis as part of the normal Estimates process. As new build supply of social housing ramps up, there will be reducing reliance on the HAP and RAS schemes.

Gorse Burning

Question No. 239 answered with Question No. 231.

Question No. 240 answered with Question No. 231.

Ceisteanna (238)

Ivana Bacik

Ceist:

238. Deputy Ivana Bacik asked the Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage the cost of fighting gorse and upland fires, by local authority, in each of the years since 2016 to date; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [58191/21]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Housing)

The provision of a fire service in its functional area, including the establishment and maintenance of a fire brigade, the assessment of fire cover needs and the provision of fire station premises, is a statutory function of individual fire authorities under the Fire Services Act, 1981. My Department supports fire authorities through setting general policy, providing a central training programme, issuing guidance on operational and other related matters and providing capital funding support for equipment and priority infrastructural projects.

The prioritisation of work and effective management of all resources is, in the first instance, a matter for management in each of the fire services, based on their assessment of local needs and requirements. Under section 159 of the Local Government Act, 2001 it is the responsibility of each Chief Executive to employ such staff and to make such staffing, funding, recruitment and organisational arrangements as may be deemed necessary for the purposes of carrying out the functions of their local authority.

Detailed data on the costs incurred by local authorities fighting gorse and upland fires, is not collected by, and consequently is not available in, my Department. The requested information would be available from the individual local authorities.

Question No. 239 answered with Question No. 231.
Question No. 240 answered with Question No. 231.

Housing Schemes

Question No. 242 answered with Question No. 241.

Question No. 243 answered with Question No. 231.

Ceisteanna (241, 242)

Thomas Gould

Ceist:

241. Deputy Thomas Gould asked the Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage if local authorities report to him the number of long-term leases entered into each year; and, if so, the overall number, by local authority, in tabular form. [58200/21]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Thomas Gould

Ceist:

242. Deputy Thomas Gould asked the Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage the forward planning in place to prevent a future housing crisis given the recent uptake by local authorities of long-term leases; and if it is planned that local authorities will purchase these homes at the end of the leasing agreement. [58201/21]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Housing)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 241 and 242 together.

Long term leasing forms part of the overall social housing leasing delivery which also includes delivery streams such as Mortgage to Rent Scheme (MTR), the Repair and Leasing Scheme (RLS) and the Enhanced Leasing Scheme. A breakdown of total leasing delivery per annum for social housing by local authority location can be found on my Department's website at the following link: www.housing.gov.ie/housing/social-housing/social-and-affordble/overall-social-housing-provision#leasing

Delivery data for Q3 2021 is being collated at present and will be published as soon as that process is finalised.

The recently published Housing for All strategy is the Government’s plan for the future of housing. Housing for All provides for an increase in the supply of housing, to an average of 33,000 a year over the next decade. This includes an average of 10,000 new build social homes. Under Housing for All, the focus is on increasing social housing through new build, with a reduced reliance on the leasing and acquisition of homes. As such long-term leasing will be phased out by the end of 2025 and thereafter no new homes will be delivered through long-term leasing. There will also be a limited number of social homes delivered through acquisitions, with current projections limiting acquisitions to 200 new social homes per annum.

The Social Housing Current Expenditure Programme (SHCEP) supports the delivery of social housing by providing financial support to local authorities for the leasing of houses and apartments. Dwellings under the scheme come from a number of different sources including private owners, Part V and Approved Housing Bodies (AHBs). Local authorities enter into leasing agreements for periods of up to 25 years. At the end of the leasing term it is then a matter for each local authority if they wish to purchase the property at the end of the lease term, should it become available to buy.

Question No. 242 answered with Question No. 241.
Question No. 243 answered with Question No. 231.

Passport Services

Ceisteanna (244)

Michael Ring

Ceist:

244. Deputy Michael Ring asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs the reason a passport application (details supplied) was with the passport office for 65 working days before it was checked; the reason the applicants’ parents are now being informed it will be over five and half months to process this first-time application; if the passport will be returned as they require it for travel; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [58056/21]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Foreign)

With regard to the specific application about which the Deputy has enquired, the Passport Service has provided an update on the status of the passport application to the applicant's parent. The parent's passport has been returned as requested

The passport processing times apply to passport applications that are fully complete, where all required supporting documentation has been correctly submitted to the Passport Service by the applicant. Applications can take longer than the average turnaround time if applicants have not provided all of the required documentation to correctly complete their application.

The Passport Service is attaching particular priority to the nearly 7% of online applications that have not been issued on or before the estimated issue date that was indicated to the applicant. Intensive work is underway to eliminate this problem and these delays are regretted very much by the Service.

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