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 Header Item Written Answers Nos. 451-472
 Header Item Alternative Energy Projects
 Header Item Non-Principal Private Residence Charge Collection
 Header Item Election Management System
 Header Item Household Charge Exemptions
 Header Item Local Authority Staff Issues
 Header Item Election Management System
 Header Item Local Authority Funding
 Header Item Community Development Initiatives
 Header Item Unfinished Housing Developments
 Header Item Building Regulations Compliance
 Header Item Building Regulations Compliance
 Header Item Special Areas of Conservation Designation
 Header Item Referendum Expenditure
 Header Item Local Authority Members' Remuneration
 Header Item Water Quality Issues
 Header Item Local Authority Funding
 Header Item Public Order Offences
 Header Item Pension Provisions

Tuesday, 13 November 2012

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 782 No. 3

First Page Previous Page Page of 86 Next Page Last Page

Written Answers Nos. 451-472

Alternative Energy Projects

 451. Deputy Robert Troy Information on Robert Troy Zoom on Robert Troy asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government Information on Phil Hogan Zoom on Phil Hogan if he has met with the two commercial companies seeking planning permission to erect wind turbines for the purposes of exporting energy to the British market; the number of occasions that he has met these companies; the purpose the meetings and the outcome of same. [49755/12]

Minister of State at the Department of the Environment, Community and Local Government (Deputy Jan O'Sullivan): Information on Jan O'Sullivan Zoom on Jan O'Sullivan I have not had any such meetings. However, my Department met with Element Power in February 2012 regarding consent required under the Foreshore Act 1933 for work associated with a proposed project.   

Non-Principal Private Residence Charge Collection

 452. Deputy Robert Troy Information on Robert Troy Zoom on Robert Troy asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government Information on Phil Hogan Zoom on Phil Hogan his plans to help persons who have built up penalties in relation to the non payment of the non-principal private residence payments. [49756/12]

 457. Deputy Paschal Donohoe Information on Paschal Donohoe Zoom on Paschal Donohoe asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government Information on Phil Hogan Zoom on Phil Hogan if he has considered a hardship application submitted by a person (details supplied) in Dublin 3 in respect of outstanding non principal private residence payments; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [49926/12]

 458. Deputy Finian McGrath Information on Finian McGrath Zoom on Finian McGrath asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government Information on Phil Hogan Zoom on Phil Hogan the position regarding an exemption from the non principal private residence charge for a property (details supplied) in Dublin 9. [49927/12]

Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government (Deputy Phil Hogan): Information on Phil Hogan Zoom on Phil Hogan I propose to take Questions Nos. 452, 457 and 458 together.

The Local Government (Charges) Act 2009 broadened the revenue base of local authorities by introducing the Non Principal Private Residence Charge . The charge is set at €200 and liability for it falls, in the main, on owners of rental, holiday and vacant properties . It is a matter for an owner to determine if he or she has a liability and, if so, to declare that liability and pay the charge.

Under the Act, it is a function of a local authority to collect the Non Principal Private Residence Charge and late payment fees due to it, and all Charges and late payment fees imposed and payable to a local authority are under the care and management of the local authority concerned. In this regard, application of the legislation in particular circumstances is a matter for the relevant local authority. Guidelines have also been issued to local authorities in relation to the provisions of the Local Government (Charges) Act 2009, which address matters including the collection, care and management of the Charge, and the operation of exemptions. Local authorities are expected to implement these guidelines appropriately.

I urge all liable persons who have not paid the Charge to contact their local authority as a matter of urgency. Property owners who are unsure of their liability should also contact their local authority.

Election Management System

 453. Deputy Dara Murphy Information on Dara Murphy Zoom on Dara Murphy asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government Information on Phil Hogan Zoom on Phil Hogan if he is looking at alternative location to schools as polling stations, for example in the Mourne Abbey area in Cork, two local National Schools are used while the local community association has made the community hall available to the returning officer; and if he will make a statement on the matter.  [49765/12]

Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government (Deputy Phil Hogan): Information on Phil Hogan Zoom on Phil Hogan The primary role of my Department in electoral matters is to provide an appropriate policy and legislative framework for a modern and efficient electoral system. Within that framework, local returning officers are responsible for all matters in connection with the actual conduct of elections and referendums, including the provision of a sufficient number of polling stations, conveniently distributed for the accommodation of the electors entitled to vote there.

Electoral law provides that a returning officer may, for the purposes of taking a poll and counting the votes, use a school or any room in a school free of charge.

Household Charge Exemptions

 454. Deputy Dominic Hannigan Information on Dominic Hannigan Zoom on Dominic Hannigan asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government Information on Phil Hogan Zoom on Phil Hogan if a person is breaking the law if they do not confirm payment of the household charge; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [49809/12]

 465. Deputy Sandra McLellan Information on Sandra McLellan Zoom on Sandra McLellan asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government Information on Phil Hogan Zoom on Phil Hogan the reason persons who are either exempt, deceased or who have actually paid the household tax are being sent letters reminding them to pay the tax; his plans to deal with this error; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [50000/12]

Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government (Deputy Phil Hogan): Information on Phil Hogan Zoom on Phil Hogan I propose to take Questions Nos. 454 and 465 together.

The Local Government Management Agency is administering the Household Charge system on a shared service/agency basis for all county and city councils. The Household Charge is on a self-assessment basis and it is a matter for an owner of a residential property on the liability date to determine if he or she has a liability and, if so, to declare that liability and pay the Charge. Having done so, I consider that a liable owner has discharged his or her primary responsibilities under the Act.

There was no existing comprehensive database of residential properties and their owners within the State prior to the Household Charge being introduced. The collection of the Household Charge via self-assessment declaration provides for the collation of such information in relation to residential property and will be an essential component for implementing the Local Property Tax. Local authorities are continuing to identify undeclared properties through appropriate data sharing provisions, and significant efforts have been expended in matching self-declared information with other datasets and in refining the resulting data.

I understand that the addresses and names used in the recent batch of letters which have been issued by Local Authorities reminding people to pay the Household Charge have been based on a data matching exercise with the Property Registration Authority.

I also understand that every effort has been made to try and ensure letters are sent to current property owners. However there are some instances where letters are being sent to previous owners of properties, due to the fact that the more recent property owners may not have registered their property with the Authority or the transfer of the property has not been completed. Thus in some cases the information contained within these datasets may not reflect the most recent and relevant details. As a consequence, the data matching exercise can give rise to situations in which people may receive a letter where they have already paid the Charge. Due to differences in the formats of addresses between datasets, it has also been the case that some owners who have paid the Charge are receiving reminder letters.

In other instances, letters have unfortunately been sent to deceased persons. I appreciate that receipt of such a letter may cause upset to relatives of a deceased person. However, in the absence of a comprehensive database, such instances, while regrettable, are also unavoidable if the Agency and local authorities are to continue their work in maximising compliance with a charge which funds essential local services for communities.

I understand that the letters which issued in recent weeks invite recipients who are not liable, or who have previously paid the household charge, or in the event of inaccuracy or error, to contact the Household Charge Bureau to allow the Agency to update their records accordingly.

Local Authority Staff Issues

 455. Deputy Mary Lou McDonald Information on Mary Lou McDonald Zoom on Mary Lou McDonald asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government Information on Phil Hogan Zoom on Phil Hogan if he will provide in a tabular form, a breakdown of the the total remuneration packages including pay, allowances such as travel and expenses, and contractual pension arrangements for each of the four Dublin local authorities city and county managers; and if he will provide the same remuneration details for all heads of Departments/senior managers of each of the local authorities. [49810/12]

Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government (Deputy Phil Hogan): Information on Phil Hogan Zoom on Phil Hogan The salaries of the managers in Dublin local authorities are set in the context of manager salaries more broadly. The salaries for county and city managers are set out in the following table.

Local Authority Manager
Salary
Dublin City Council
€ 189,301
Cork County Council

Fingal County Council

South Dublin County Council
€ 162,062
   
Cork City Council

Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council

Kildare County Council

Meath County Council

Limerick City and County Council
€ 153,260
   
Clare County Council

Donegal County Council

Galway County Council

Kerry County Council

Kilkenny County Council

Louth County Council

Mayo County Council

South Tipperary County Council

Westmeath County Council

Wexford County Council

Wicklow County Council
€ 142,469
   
Galway City Council

Waterford City Council

Carlow County Council

Cavan County Council

Laois County Council

Leitrim County Council

Longford County Council

Monaghan County Council

Offaly County Council

Roscommon County Council

Sligo County Council

North Tipperary County Council

Waterford County Council
€ 132,511
The pay scale for Directors of Service begins at €90,453 and ends at €106,900.   

County and city managers may submit claims in respect of travel and subsistence expenses incurred as part of their official duties in accordance with the relevant travel and subsistence circulars. All local authorities are obliged to ensure that only essential travel is undertaken and that the number of employees going on any official journey is kept to an absolute minimum. Local authorities are also obliged to ensure that related expenditure is critically appraised and monitored.   

A manager may claim up to 7.5% of their salary in substitution of motor mileage rates contained in the travel and subsistence circulars, where a local authority considers that those allowances do not adequately recompense the manager for the extent to which their car is used for official business.

  A manager or assistant manager may claim an allowance in respect of individual or casual entertainment expenses incurred by them in relation to development functions and public relations associated therewith. The level of allowance corresponds to the number of Assistant Managers and is contained in the following table.
County or City Manager
Up to €2,095
Manager and one Assistant Manager
Up to €3,683
   
Manager and two or more Assistant Managers
Up to €5,270
   
Manager and three or more Assistant Managers
Up to €6,858
County and city managers with designated responsibility for a Regional Authority may claim an allowance of € 5,662 per annum in respect of these responsibilities.   

Article 78 of the Local Government (Superannuation) (Consolidation) Scheme 1998 to 2012 deals with the pension entitlement of county and city managers.

Election Management System

 456. Deputy Brendan Griffin Information on Brendan Griffin Zoom on Brendan Griffin asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government Information on Phil Hogan Zoom on Phil Hogan his views on voting (details supplied) in County Kerry; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [49813/12]

Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government (Deputy Phil Hogan): Information on Phil Hogan Zoom on Phil Hogan While electoral law is subject to ongoing review, I have no proposals at present to change the requirement whereby a person entitled to vote at an election or referendum may only do so in person at the polling station allotted to him or her in the constituency where he or she is registered.     

Exceptions to this rule are provided in electoral law for postal and special voters, persons working at elections and persons who satisfy the returning officer that they are unable to vote at their polling station because of physical illness or disability.   

  Questions Nos. 457 and 458 answered with Question No. 452.

Local Authority Funding

 459. Deputy Joan Collins Information on Joan Collins Zoom on Joan Collins asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government Information on Phil Hogan Zoom on Phil Hogan if it has been brought to his attention that the Sligo County Manager placed an item on the agenda issued on the 30 October, for the November meeting of the Council seeking approval to borrow a sum not exceeding €7.5 million by way of a loan for 20 years to replace the existing overdraft borrowings of €7.5 million and seeking approval to continue with a temporary overdraft of €4 million for the period up to 31 March 2013; if it has been brought to his attention that the County Manager received a letter on 2 November from an official in his Department (details supplied) stating that the Department is willing to provide approval for the conversion of the Council’s existing €7.5 million overdraft to a term loan and further stating that the said loan would reduce the Council’s banking costs and provide an opportunity for the Council to reduce its overall debt levels; if it has been brought to his attention that at the Council meeting on the 5 of November the County Manager changed his recommendation and sought approval from the Council to borrow a sum not exceeding €7.5 million by way of a long term loan with the existing €7.5 million overdraft staying in place; if it has been brought to his attention that by a majority of one the Council voted to accept the County Managers recommendation; if he will approve the proposed €7.5 million loan in view of the fact that the terms for the loan approval from his Department have been ignored and the existing overdraft is being maintained; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [49936/12]

Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government (Deputy Phil Hogan): Information on Phil Hogan Zoom on Phil Hogan I conveyed sanction to Sligo County Council on 8 November 2012, in accordance with Section 106 of the Local Government Act 2001, for the borrowing of €7.5 million by way of a term loan. The Council’s overdraft borrowing limit was revised to €4 million in conjunction with this sanction.     

Community Development Initiatives

 460. Deputy Robert Troy Information on Robert Troy Zoom on Robert Troy asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government Information on Phil Hogan Zoom on Phil Hogan if he will guarantee that funding for the Westmeath Volunteer Centre will not be cut following the budget in December; if he will pledge his full support for projects such as these, as it is vital that persons who find themselves out of work have an outlet such as the Westmeath Volunteer Centre. [49942/12]

Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government (Deputy Phil Hogan): Information on Phil Hogan Zoom on Phil Hogan My Department funds a network of twenty two Volunteer Centres nationally.

  In the context of the current economic climate, my primary concern has been, and will continue to be, the protection of front line services delivering vital programmes and initiatives, especially those focused on the needs of the most socially deprived communities.

  Ongoing funding for my Department’s programmes for 2013, and beyond, will be considered in the context of the annual Estimates process. Within the resources available, ensuring a continued positive impact across the Community and Voluntary sector will be a key part of my Department’s work in the coming years.

Unfinished Housing Developments

 461. Deputy Michael McNamara Information on Michael McNamara Zoom on Michael McNamara asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government Information on Phil Hogan Zoom on Phil Hogan the action he is taking to help with the problems of persons living in an estate (details supplied) in County Clare that went into liquidation in 2010; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [49950/12]

Minister of State at the Department of the Environment, Community and Local Government (Deputy Jan O'Sullivan): Information on Jan O'Sullivan Zoom on Jan O'Sullivan I am chairing the National Co-ordination Committee on Unfinished Housing Developments to oversee implementation of the Report of the Advisory Group on Unfinished Housing Developments, together with the Government’s response to the recommendations. The Committee includes representatives from the Irish Banking Federation, local authorities, the Housing and Sustainable Communities Agency, NAMA and the construction sector. Real progress is being made with regard to the public safety works required to improve the living conditions of existing residents on some unfinished estates and the Committee is meeting on a regular basis to oversee this effort.

My Department launched the Public Safety Initiative in March 2011, which provided funding to address immediate public safety issues. The types of works that have been approved to date under the PSI include the fencing off of unsecured and hazardous areas, capping of pipes, installation of street lighting and other works to secure sites. Under the PSI, my Department has made allocations totalling some €3.549 million to 21 local authorities from the funding made available. A provision of €2m has been made for 2012 by my Department and to date, a total of €1.897 million has been drawn down by local authorities.

The Public Safety Initiative provides funding only in instances where a developer has abandoned the development. As the developer in question in this instance has gone into liquidation, the responsibility for the maintenance and resolution of issues surrounding the development are matters for the liquidator and financial institutions involved, and my Department has no remit in this regard. However, my Department has been in contact with Clare County Council and I have been advised that proposals to finish off the development of Gleann Cora are at an advanced stage.

Building Regulations Compliance

 462. Deputy Clare Daly Information on Clare Daly Zoom on Clare Daly asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government Information on Phil Hogan Zoom on Phil Hogan the expected timeframe for developing a stand alone specification for hard core as outlined in recommendation 15 of the Pyrite Panel Report. [49969/12]

Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government (Deputy Phil Hogan): Information on Phil Hogan Zoom on Phil Hogan I have asked the National Standards Authority of Ireland (NSAI) to undertake work on a number of recommendations in the Pyrite Report including Recommendation 15.

  Priority is being given to the development of protocols for testing and categorisation and for a remediation method statement. I understand that a stand-alone specification for hardcore will be developed in conjunction with a review of Recommendation 21   on which work has   commenced. NSAI is aware of the urgency I attach to this work.   

Building Regulations Compliance

 463. Deputy Clare Daly Information on Clare Daly Zoom on Clare Daly asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government Information on Phil Hogan Zoom on Phil Hogan the progress that has been made on his dealings with the stakeholders regarding a solution to the pyrite issue. [49970/12]

Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government (Deputy Phil Hogan): Information on Phil Hogan Zoom on Phil Hogan In mid-October when I announced that I had asked my Department to finalise arrangements and terms of reference for the establishment of a Resolution Board I also indicated that I was writing to the stakeholders to give them one final opportunity to engage constructively with me in putting in place a remediation programme and to contribute to its cost. I wrote to the Construction Industry Federation, the Irish Concrete Federation, HomeBond, the Irish Insurance Federation and the Irish Banking Federation enclosing illustrative terms of reference for the proposed Resolution Board and set a deadline of 9 November for them to advise me of their responses. In addition, my Department has met with a number of the stakeholders over the past two weeks and further meetings are scheduled for this week. I have received written and oral responses to my letters of 31 October which I will consider in conjunction with the outcome of the discussions now taking place. It is my intention that final decisions in relation to the proposed Resolution Board and its funding will be made very shortly.

  Question No. 464 answered with Question No. 436.

  Question No. 465 answered with Question No. 454.

Special Areas of Conservation Designation

 466. Deputy Finian McGrath Information on Finian McGrath Zoom on Finian McGrath asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government Information on Phil Hogan Zoom on Phil Hogan if funding is available for a landowner of a quarry which is in a special area of conservation to carry out an appropriate assessment. [50052/12]

Minister of State at the Department of the Environment, Community and Local Government (Deputy Jan O'Sullivan): Information on Jan O'Sullivan Zoom on Jan O'Sullivan Under the Planning and Development Act 2000, as amended, an appropriate assessment is required to be carried out by a planning authority or An Bord Pleanála, as the case may be, in an application for permission or substitute consent, in a case where it cannot be excluded, on the basis of objective information, that the development, individually or in combination with other plans or projects, will have a significant effect on a European site. In a case where the consent authority is required to carry out an appropriate assessment, the applicant for consent may be required to submit a Natura Impact Statement. This is a statement, for the purposes of Article 6 of the Habitats Directive, of the implications of a proposed development, on its own or in combination with other plans or projects, for one or more than one European site, in view of the conservation objectives of the site or sites.

There are no funds available to assist in the provision of Natura Impact Statements: this cost is a matter for the applicant for consent.

Referendum Expenditure

 467. Deputy Mattie McGrath Information on Mattie McGrath Zoom on Mattie McGrath asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government Information on Phil Hogan Zoom on Phil Hogan the total cost to his Department of holding the Children's Referendum including a breakdown of the costs; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [50055/12]

Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government (Deputy Phil Hogan): Information on Phil Hogan Zoom on Phil Hogan In accordance with the Referendum Acts the costs of running the Children’s Referendum are met by the Minister for Finance from the Central Fund on the request of the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform and the costs of the Referendum Commission are met by the Department of Children and Youth Affairs. To date, costs totalling €88,390.06 have been spent by my Department in respect of (a) Newspaper advertising to advise the electorate of the closing dates for (i) applications for inclusion in the supplement to the electoral register and the supplement to the postal and special voters lists , and (ii) applying to their local returning officer, in the case of voters with physical illnesses or disabilities who have difficulty gaining access to their polling station , to have their vote transferred to a more accessible station in their constituency; the translation of a press release encouraging voters to check that they are on the register of electors, and the printing of the Referendum Commission (Establishment) (No.2) Order, 2012.

Local Authority Members' Remuneration

 468. Deputy Eamonn Maloney Information on Eamonn Maloney Zoom on Eamonn Maloney asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government Information on Phil Hogan Zoom on Phil Hogan his planned approach and timescale to implement the recent ruling by the Standards in Public Offices Commission that the regulations for expenses for training and conferences do not provide for claims for expenses by councillors in respect of third-level degree courses in the interim period prior to the introduction of the Putting People First reform programme in 2014. [50069/12]

Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government (Deputy Phil Hogan): Information on Phil Hogan Zoom on Phil Hogan I am advised that Part IV of the Local Government (Expenses of Local Authority Members) Regulations 2006 (S.I. No. 668 of 2006), together with a direction under article 16 of S.I. No 668 of 2006 issued in conjunction with Circular LG 33/06 and the guidance issued in conjunction with Circular LG 2/2010 provide the legal basis to enable local authorities to pay expenses relating to educational courses, including third-level degree courses, undertaken by elected members. I have notified the Standards in Public Office Commission of this.

Notwithstanding this , a key element of the recently published Action Programme for Effective Local Government – Putting People First , will be the review of the structures for and levels of all payments, to reduce overall costs and levels of payments to individual councillors, while having regard to the reformed sub-county structure and regional governance, and the need to ensure sufficient incentive for high-quality representation of the community. A specific element of cost reduction in this context is the need to limit expenditure in respect of training and attendance at conferences. The Action Programme proposes that each local authority will, subject to maximum thresholds set in law, determine a limit on the overall training budget and that a specific proportion of this will, in turn, be ring-fenced in respect of individual councillors. The review, which will take into account the views of the Standards Commission, will be completed to provide for the revised payments for councillors elected in 2014, at the latest.

Water Quality Issues

 469. Deputy Michael Colreavy Information on Michael Colreavy Zoom on Michael Colreavy asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government Information on Phil Hogan Zoom on Phil Hogan the chemicals and impurities identified under the current local authority water testing and sampling programmes; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [50079/12]

Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government (Deputy Phil Hogan): Information on Phil Hogan Zoom on Phil Hogan The European Communities (Drinking Water) (No. 2) Regulations 2007 specify the frequency for sampling and analysis of water supplies and prescribe the limits for 48 microbiological, chemical and indicator parameters and standards which water supplies are required to meet. It is a responsibility of the Environmental Protection Agency , under the Environmental Protection Agency Act 1992, to publish the results of such water testing. The Act requires such reports to be laid before each House of the Oireachtas. The most recent drinking water reports produced by the Agency, The Provision and Quality of Drinking Water in Ireland, A Report for the Years 2008 – 2009 and The Provision and Quality of Drinking Water in Ireland, A Report for the Year 2010 were published in 2011. These reports set out details on the monitoring results for drinking water quality.

Local Authority Funding

 470. Deputy Terence Flanagan Information on Terence Flanagan Zoom on Terence Flanagan asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government Information on Phil Hogan Zoom on Phil Hogan his views on cuts to funding to local authorities in 2012; if he will protect local authority funding in Budget 2013; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [50111/12]

Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government (Deputy Phil Hogan): Information on Phil Hogan Zoom on Phil Hogan I assume that the Question refers to general purpose grants from the Local Government Fund. The two principal sources of revenue for the Local Government Fund are the proceeds of motor tax and the income from the Household Charge. The Local Government (Household Charge) Act 2011 provides that income from the household charge is to be paid into the Local Government Fund. The proceeds from the household charge are being re-distributed on an equalised basis to local authorities within the context of the annual allocations of general purpose grants.

General purpose grants contribute towards meeting the reasonable cost to local authorities of providing services to their customers. Some €651m in general purpose grants had been allocated to local authorities for 2012. It has been necessary for me to reduce general purpose grant funding to local authorities in the third quarter of this year in light of the level of compliance with the household charge.

It is estimated that there are some 1.6 million residential properties potentially liable for the household charge. As such, if collected in full, the household charge has the potential to raise €160 million annually. As of 9 November 2012 some €109m had been collected nationally. A total of €15,695,292 was withheld from the Quarter 3 general purpose grant payment. For county and city councils, this represented a reduction of between 1% and 3% of the total general purpose grant allocation for 2012.

I am keeping the income generated from the Household Charge under constant review and those local authorities that achieve a collection rate of 65% or above will suffer no further reduction in their general purpose grant allocation for 2012.

In line with previous years, it is my intention to inform local authorities of their 2013 general purpose grant allocations following the announcement of Budget 2013. I will seek to contribute to the general purpose funding of local authorities to the maximum extent possible, having regard to the current pressures on the public finances and motor tax income.

Public Order Offences

 471. Deputy Michael P. Kitt Information on Michael Kitt Zoom on Michael Kitt asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government Information on Phil Hogan Zoom on Phil Hogan if local authorities will introduce by-laws to help curb public order offences; if a town council will enact such by-laws; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [50160/12]

Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government (Deputy Phil Hogan): Information on Phil Hogan Zoom on Phil Hogan Part 19 of the Local Government Act, 2001 deals with bye-laws.

Section 199 (1) of the 2001 Act provides that a local authority may make a bye-law for or in relation to the use, operation, protection, regulation or management of any land, services, or any other matter provided by or under the control or management of the local authority, whether within or without its functional area or in relation to any connected matter.

Section 199( 2)(a) of the Act provides a local authority may make a bye-law where in its opinion it is desirable in the interests of the common good of the local community that any activity or other matter should be regulated or controlled by bye-law, or that any nuisance should be controlled or suppressed by bye-law. However, section 199(2)(b) of the Act provides that a bye-law may not be made under section 199(2) for a purpose as respects which provision for that particular purpose is made by or under any other enactment or may be made under such enactment.

Section 199(3) of the Act provides that any bye-law may include such provisions as the local authority considers appropriate for its effective application, operation and enforcement and generally to achieve the purposes for which it is made, including the conduct of persons at specified places or in specified circumstances.

Section 199(7) of the Act, however, provides that the appropriate Minister may by regulation prescribe matters or classes of matters in respect of which local authorities are not entitled to make a bye-law. The making of such bye laws is a matter for decision by individual local authorities , including town councils, and is a reserved function of the elected members under Section 199 (5) of the Act.

Pension Provisions

 472. Deputy Terence Flanagan Information on Terence Flanagan Zoom on Terence Flanagan asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government Information on Phil Hogan Zoom on Phil Hogan how well funded all semi-State company pension schemes are; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [50654/12]

Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government (Deputy Phil Hogan): Information on Phil Hogan Zoom on Phil Hogan State bodies under the aegis of my Department, with the exception of the National Building Agency, operate defined benefit pension schemes. These pension schemes are funded annually on a pay as you go basis from monies available to the State agencies, including where appropriate monies made available from my Department, and from pension contributions deducted from staff salaries. The National Building Agency pension scheme is a funded defined benefit scheme and is currently well funded with assets exceeding scheme liabilities.


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