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 Header Item Building Regulations Application (Continued)
 Header Item EU Directives
 Header Item Housing Regeneration
 Header Item Topical Issue Matters
 Header Item Leaders' Questions

Tuesday, 4 December 2012

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 785 No. 1

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(Speaker Continuing)

[Deputy Fergus O'Dowd: Information on Fergus O'Dowd Zoom on Fergus O'Dowd]  I would not like it to go out from the Oireachtas that any house constructed of timber is unsafe. Clearly, that is not so. There must be balance in this regard. We need to make it crystal clear that it is a priority for local government but I would not create unnecessary worry in people's minds.

EU Directives

 65. 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 if he will revisit the issue of restrictions on slurry spreading times, taking account of the implementation method in other jurisdictions, with a view to easing the difficulties that the current calendar based system is causing for farmers; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [53802/12]

Deputy Fergus O'Dowd: Information on Fergus O'Dowd Zoom on Fergus O'Dowd Set closed periods for the spreading of fertilisers, including slurry, are a requirement of the nitrates directive and are mandatory. The purpose of closed periods is to protect ground and surface water bodies, including drinking water sources, by prohibiting the application of fertilisers when such application poses an unacceptable risk to water courses. The closed periods in Ireland were decided following an extensive consultation and were discussed with farming bodies and the European Commission at the time.

Good agricultural practice involves the application of fertilisers as early as practicable in the growing season in order to maximise the uptake of nutrients and to minimise pollution to water. In this regard, the application of fertilisers in the months of November and December is not considered good farming practice and this has been the case long before the nitrates directive.

Closed periods for the spreading of fertilisers are part of Ireland's nitrates action programme. The regulations underpinning the programme were subject to a comprehensive review in 2010. Expert opinion was that the closed periods should remain unchanged in the programme. The action programme is due to be reviewed for a second time in 2013 and will be subject to full public consultation.

Housing Regeneration

 66. Deputy Jonathan O'Brien Information on Jonathan O'Brien Zoom on Jonathan O'Brien asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government Information on Phil Hogan Zoom on Phil Hogan if he will provide an update on the regeneration of Knocknaheeney, Cork, including what is currently under construction and what has been completed; the number of families that have been rehoused; and the timeframe for completion.  [54247/12]

Deputy Jan O'Sullivan: Information on Jan O'Sullivan Zoom on Jan O'Sullivan The redevelopment of Knocknaheeney Block D, which comprised the comprehensive refurbishment of some 80 dwellings, the provision of new infill units, sheltered housing and the provision of community facilities, was completed over the past two years with substantial financial support from my Department. In light of the experience at Knocknaheeney Block D and the fact that over ten years had elapsed since the development of the original regeneration masterplan for the Knocknaheeney area, my Department instructed Cork City Council to undertake a review of the plan to ensure that it continued to be relevant and fit for purpose. This review was completed in 2011. The revised plan, which now covers a wider area including Hollyhill, was re-branded as the Cork City North West Regeneration Masterplan. This presents a much broader view, beyond a simple upgrading of the housing stock, to address underlying issues of social exclusion and socio-economic disadvantage. Issues such as connectivity and permeability, investment and employment have also been explored. Wide-ranging schemes of demolition and rebuilding, public realm upgrades including addressing areas of anti-social behaviour, and significant investment in social regeneration activities are all proposed. While my Department is satisfied with the broad thrust of the regeneration masterplan, it will be liaising with the city council on an ongoing basis to prioritise individual schemes for inclusion in annual work programmes.

  Under the National Regeneration Programme, Cork City Council received an allocation of €12 million in 2012 in respect of its proposed programme of works which included completion of the works at Ard Sionnach housing estate as replacement social housing stock for units to be demolished as part of the regeneration programme, strategic demolitions and various estate and public realm works such as the closure of Hollyhill Lane, temporary refurbishments to houses and refurbishment of McSwiney Sports Hall. Phase 1 of a five-phase demolition programme has commenced with the relocation of 68 families, the majority of whom have transferred to nearby Ard Sionnach housing estate. I understand that demolition works will commence shortly. Work is also progressing on the other initiatives included in the 2012 work programme.

Additional information not given on the floor of the House

  Projected levels of activity in 2013 will be subject to the financial provision for housing, which will be determined in the context of the 2013 Estimates process. Having regard to the scope and extent of the overall proposed regeneration in Cork city and the potential availability of Exchequer funding in the coming years, it is not possible to indicate a timeframe for the completion of all elements of the masterplan.

Deputy Dessie Ellis: Information on Dessie Ellis Zoom on Dessie Ellis There has been funding put forward in the regeneration for Knocknaheeney and the Glen, but the rest of the regeneration is important. Although it has not been mentioned in the past in terms of funding, I hope further regeneration in the Cork area will be looked at, that there will be a clear timetable in terms of how that is laid out and, according to the plan the Minister of State mentioned, this will be put in place over a period of time.

I have a fear that residents are being moved out of the estate into other housing and as Christmas approaches, they are sitting in uncertainty. Many have even bought furniture and household goods in anticipation of their move. We need to give them greater clarity and commitment as to when it will take place and how long it will take.

Deputy Jan O'Sullivan: Information on Jan O'Sullivan Zoom on Jan O'Sullivan I visited the programme earlier this year and I felt that it was going well. It is working, residents are moving out to allow for demolition and they are staying within their own communities, etc. I felt that there was a positive response in Cork to it.

We will be allocating further funding next year and the year after to ensure that we continue with the programme. I have an element of detail for which we probably do not have time today, but it is proceeding in accordance with the plan. As Deputy Ellis will be aware, Cork City Council is also active in terms of moving on the socioeconomic side of it which was not part of the original plan.

Topical Issue Matters

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Michael Kitt Zoom on Michael Kitt I wish to advise the House of the following matters in respect of which notice has been given under Standing Order 27A and the name of the Member in each case: (1) Deputy Willie Penrose - the need to introduce legislation to enable periodic payments to be made in respect of personal injuries awards in catastrophic injuries; (2) Deputy Michael Healy-Rae - the need to retain the Aer Arann service to the Aran Islands; (3) Deputy Simon Harris - the need for hospice facilities in County Wicklow; (4) Deputy James Bannon - the potential national fallout from the loss of approximately 100 jobs at Ericsson, Athlone, County Westmeath; (5) Deputy Thomas P. Broughan - the need to ensure that key teacher and learning resources in DEIS schools and other schools in areas of disadvantage generally will be maintained in budget 2013 and specifically that educational resources will be protected in the parishes of Darndale, Belcamp, Priorswood and Bonnybrook in Coolock, Dublin 17; (6) Deputies Brendan Griffin and Martin Ferris - the need to establish a State body to co-ordinate and maximise the potential of the oil industry here; (7) Deputy Derek Keating - the increased incidences of tuberculosis throughout Dublin city and county; (8) Deputy John McGuinness - the need to set up an inquiry into the sudden death of a young man following knee surgery in Kilkenny orthopaedic hospital; (9) Deputy Michael Moynihan - the need to reverse the cuts in home help hours; (10) Deputy Áine Collins - the proposed changes in services for special needs schools in relation to multidisciplinary disability services for children aged five to eight years; (11) Deputy Eamonn Maloney - the need to involve the Irish diaspora in the Constitutional Convention; (12) Deputy Clare Daly - the termination of motoring offences by members of An Garda Síochána; (13) Deputy Mick Wallace - the termination of penalty points by members of An Garda Síochána; (14) Deputy Niall Collins - the need for the Minister for Justice and Equality to make a statement to Dáil Éireann on the report he has received from An Garda Síochána into allegations of some people having their penalty points written off; (15) Deputy Éamon Ó Cuív - the future of the subsidy to Aer Aran services to the Aran islands; (16) Deputy Patrick O'Donovan - the need for lands owned by Shannon Development in Limerick to be transferred to the local authority as part of any restructuring of Shannon Airport and Shannon Development; (17) Deputy Charlie McConalogue - the number of grant applications processed to date by the higher education grant SUSI system; (18) Deputy Mattie McGrath - the urgent need for the Central Bank of Ireland to clarify if it stands over its code of conduct for business lending to small and medium enterprises; (19) Deputy Joan Collins - the termination of motoring offences by members of An Garda Síochána; (20) Deputy Richard Boyd Barrett - Israeli plans to build in the West Bank; and (21) Deputy Luke 'Ming' Flanagan - the termination of penalty points by members of An Garda Síochána.

The matters raised by Deputies Willie Penrose; Brendan Griffin and Martin Ferris; Simon Harris; and John McGuinness have been selected for discussion.

Leaders' Questions

Deputy Micheál Martin: Information on Micheál Martin Zoom on Micheál Martin I am sure the Taoiseach will agree that Cabinet collegiality is important in terms of the smooth running of Government and honesty between colleagues, in particular, is important. When Fianna Fáil tabled a motion of no confidence in the Minister for Health, Deputy Reilly, in September last we were conscious of anonymous leaks to the media from some of his Cabinet colleagues that they did not have confidence in him. They were complaining on an ongoing basis about him and notwithstanding that, they voted for the Minister in that debate.

  However, there is now the extraordinary revelation, reported in the Sunday Independent and other newspapers, that on Wednesday last the Minister for Education and Skills, Deputy Quinn, spoke clearly about his lack of confidence in the Minister, Deputy Reilly's ability to do the job. It was following a discussion at the parliamentary party at which some Deputies expressed strongly held views. The Sunday Independent reported that Labour Party chairman, Deputy Keaveney, railed against the Minister, Deputy Reilly's "privatisation agenda" of health and that Deputy Ó Ríordáin stated that the Minister was the "elephant in the room"-----

Deputy Bernard J. Durkan: Information on Bernard Durkan Zoom on Bernard Durkan Deputy Martin must have been there.

Deputy Micheál Martin: Information on Micheál Martin Zoom on Micheál Martin -----and was quoted as stating:

We are going to have to do something about Reilly and soon. Clearly he is not up to the job of being Minister, and in my view he should go. He simply can't do his job, makes a hash of everything he [does].

  The key intervention was made by the Minister, Deputy Quinn, when he responded that "your sentiments are shared by your cabinet colleagues", but he then went on to state that the party "can't be seen to be looking for a head."

  The Minister, Deputy Quinn, is fast becoming the poster boy of breathtaking political cynicism in this House. He did not speak during the debate on that confidence motion, but he voted confidence in the Minister, Deputy Reilly, and acquiesced in the principled resignation of then Minister of State, Deputy Shortall. Now we have learned that all along he did not believe any of that.

  I believe that the Minister, Deputy Quinn, did speak thus at the Labour Parliamentary Party meeting.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Barrett Zoom on Seán Barrett Deputy Martin has run over the time. Would he put his question?

Deputy Micheál Martin: Information on Micheál Martin Zoom on Micheál Martin Did the Taoiseach meet the Minister, Deputy Quinn, and has he asked him to confirm or deny that he made those comments at the Labour Parliamentary Party about a ministerial colleague?

The Taoiseach: Information on Enda Kenny Zoom on Enda Kenny It is not so long ago that there used to be 12-hour meetings of the parliamentary party of the party in which Deputy Martin is involved.

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