Houses of the Oireachtas

All parliamentary debates are now being published on our new website. The publication of debates on this website will cease in December 2018.

Go to oireachtas.ie

 Header Item Written Answers Nos.370-391
 Header Item Capital Programme Expenditure
 Header Item Local Authority Services
 Header Item Local Authority Funding
 Header Item Local Authority Staff Issues
 Header Item Household Charge Collection
 Header Item Tenant Purchase Scheme Applications
 Header Item Planning Issues
 Header Item Water Meters Installation
 Header Item Electoral Commission Establishment
 Header Item Electoral Divisions Establishment
 Header Item Regeneration Projects Status
 Header Item Election Management System
 Header Item Private Residential Tenancies Board Remit
 Header Item Arts Council Funding
 Header Item Unfinished Housing Developments
 Header Item Waste Management Regulations
 Header Item International Agreements
 Header Item Departmental Staff Rehiring
 Header Item Cross-Border Co-operation
 Header Item Fire Service Issues
 Header Item Housing Adaptation Grants Expenditure

Tuesday, 4 December 2012

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 785 No. 1

First Page Previous Page Page of 89 Next Page Last Page

Written Answers Nos.370-391

Capital Programme Expenditure

 370. Deputy Sean Fleming Information on Seán Fleming Zoom on Seán Fleming asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government Information on Phil Hogan Zoom on Phil Hogan in respect of the October Exchequer returns, the reason the capital spending for his Department was €150 million below profile for this period; his plans to ensure that the full capital spending is implemented before the end of the year; and if he will make a statement on the matter.  [53829/12]

Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government (Deputy Phil Hogan): Information on Phil Hogan Zoom on Phil Hogan My Department is responsible for a wide range of programmes, including in the areas of housing, water services, environmental protection, local government services, and community and rural development. The Revised Estimates for Public Services 2012, published by the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform in February 2012, detail gross expenditure of €467 million on the current side of the Vote and gross capital expenditure (including carryover) of €895 million in respect of my Department in 2012. Current spending in 2012 is running close to the profile established at the start of the year. Capital spending is behind profile; this is due primarily to fewer new water services contracts than had been expected commencing in 2012 and to slower than anticipated drawdown of housing expenditure by local authorities. I expect significant further expenditure to take place by end 2012. Consideration will be given, in consultation with the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform, to the appropriate use of any potential savings arising on the Vote.

Local Authority Services

 371. Deputy Anthony Lawlor Information on Anthony Lawlor Zoom on Anthony Lawlor asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government Information on Phil Hogan Zoom on Phil Hogan if supports are available for residents in housing estates which have not yet been taken in charge by the local authority, when the developers are no longer active, but who are liable for the household charge despite the fact that no one has responsibility for dealing with public problems arising in the estate such as lighting, footpaths, green areas; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [53861/12]

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 Section 180 of the Planning and Development Act, 2000 applies to estates which have been granted planning permission and includes the construction of two or more houses (which as defined in the Act includes apartments) and the provision of new roads, open spaces, car parks, sewers, watermains or drains. In relation to estates which have been completed to the satisfaction of the planning authority in accordance with the permission, section 180 provides that the planning authority must if requested to do so by the developer or by the majority of the qualified electors who are owners of the houses involved, initiate the procedures in section 11 of the Roads Act 1993 for declaring the road(s) to be public roads, for whose maintenance the local authority will then be responsible.

  Section 11 of the Roads Act empowers a local authority to, by order, declare any road over which a public right of way exists to be a public road. Before making an order the local authority must be satisfied the road is of general public utility, consider the financial implications of taking the road in charge and consult with the public/consider any objections received. The consideration of the objections and the making of the order declaring the road to be a public road is a reserved function, so that the decision whether to take the road in charge is ultimately one for the discretion of the elected members.

In relation to estates which have not been completed to the satisfaction of the planning authority and enforcement proceedings have not been commenced within the relevant period section 180 also provides that the planning authority must, if requested to do so by the majority of the owners, initiate the procedures in section 11 of the Roads Act. However, in this case the section provides that the provision in section 11 of the Roads Act requiring the authority to consider the financial implications of taking the road in charge is to be disregarded.

  Section 180 also provides that where a planning authority, in complying with section 180, makes an order under section 11 of the Roads Act, it must also take in charge any open spaces, car parks, sewers, watermains, or drains within the attendant grounds of the development. Section 180 was amended in the Planning and Development (Amendment) Act 2010 to provide that a planning authority may take in charge an unfinished estate, at the request of the owners of the housing units, at any time after the expiration of the planning permission, in situations where enforcement actions have commenced or where the planning authority consider that enforcement action will not result in the satisfactory completion of the estate by the developer. Planning authorities have also been empowered to take in charge part of an estate or some, but not all, of the facilities in an estate.

  Question No. 372 answered with Question No. 369.

Local Authority Funding

 373. 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 further to Parliamentary Question No. 1131 of 18 September 2012, if he has considered the report of the independent financial consultant engaged by Sligo County Council to review its critical financial position; his response to the recommendations made by the independent consultant; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [53883/12]

Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government (Deputy Phil Hogan): Information on Phil Hogan Zoom on Phil Hogan I refer to the replies to Question numbers 1131 of 18 September 2012, 184 of 18 October 2012, 459 of 13 November 2012 and 161 and 162 of 21 November 2012 in which I stated that I had considered the report of the independent financial consultant engaged by Sligo County Council to review its financial position. Arising from that consideration, I conveyed sanction to the Council on 8 November 2012 to borrow €7.5m by way of a term loan and revised the Council's overdraft borrowing limit to €4 million.

Local Authority Staff Issues

 374. 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 his attention has been drawn to the fact that the workforce planning group has recommended that between two and three directors of service in addition to a head of finance is optimal for level five local authorities which includes Sligo County Council; if his attention has been drawn to the fact that Sligo County Council currently has two directors of service, in addition to two acting directors of service plus a head of finance; the proposals in place to ensure that Sligo County Council complies with the recommendation of the workforce planning group regarding the number of directors of service; and if he will make a statement on the matter.  [53886/12]

Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government (Deputy Phil Hogan): Information on Phil Hogan Zoom on Phil Hogan The local government sector has been at the forefront in driving greater efficiencies and securing financial savings during the financial crisis. In this regard, payroll savings have been delivered mainly through staff reductions of almost 8,600 (23%) from 37,243 (June 2008) to 28,652 (September 2012). The departure of 8,600 staff from the sector since 2008 has inevitably impacted in different ways upon individual local authorities. My Department and local authorities have prioritised the examination of the present and future workforce demographic in the context of service delivery, organisational diversity, knowledge transfer, up-skilling/re-skilling and succession planning.

To support the sector in effectively managing the combination of staff reductions and the reform/change programme a Workforce Study has been undertaken jointly by local authorities and my Department. In particular, the study assesses the management requirements of local authorities bearing in mind the potential impacts of shared services and other reform initiatives underway. Each local authority is in turn preparing a detailed workforce plan outlining how it will implement the study’s recommendations.

Household Charge Collection

 375. Deputy Joe Higgins Information on Joe Higgins Zoom on Joe Higgins asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government Information on Phil Hogan Zoom on Phil Hogan if he will provide the latest registration figures by local authority area of the household charge and the respective target figures for compliance in each local authority area. [53899/12]

Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government (Deputy Phil Hogan): Information on Phil Hogan Zoom on Phil Hogan The Local Government (Household Charge) Act 2011 provides the legislative basis for the Household Charge. Under the Act, an owner of a residential property on the liability date is liable to pay the Household Charge, unless otherwise exempted or entitled to claim a waiver. It is a matter for an owner of a residential property to determine liability and pay the Charge. The Local Government Management Agency is administering the Household Charge system on a shared service/agency basis for all county and city councils.

  The target is to maximise the yield from the Household Charge in all areas. The table details the total number of payments and waivers registered for the Household Charge nationally and by local authority area , as of 29 November 2012. The figures are also presented as a percentage of the estimated total number of liable properties nationally and per local authority area.

  Overall, compliance continues to grow. The compliance rate from local authority to local authority varies considerably, however, from 85% in Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown to 55% in Donegal. It is a matter for each individual local authority to use the provisions of the legislation, combined with their local knowledge and judgement, to increase compliance. I expect that local authorities will use the available avenues to the fullest to help fund the services which are important for the wellbeing of every household and community. The legislation empowers local authorities to bring and prosecute summary proceedings for an offence under the Act and local authorities will pursue those who may have a liability and initiate court proceedings where it is considered appropriate. 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.

County/City Council
Estimated number of liable properties
Total registered (paid + waivers)
Registrations as a % of total estimated liable properties
Carlow
18,257
12,097
66%
Cavan
25,611
17,204
67%
Clare
45,786
33,046
72%
Cork City
41,649
28,125
68%
Cork County
143,887
93,123
65%
Donegal
65,331
36,139
55%
Dublin City
190,685
138,359
73%
Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown
74,390
63,396
85%
Fingal
90,286
62,044
69%
Galway City
27,086
20,184
75%
Galway County
62,851
41,765
67%
Kerry
58,792
43,475
74%
Kildare
68,215
45,856
67%
Kilkenny
32,067
21,417
67%
Laois
26,185
16,475
63%
Leitrim
13,069
9,176
70%
Limerick City
20,380
14,131
69%
Limerick County
46,473
31,741
68%
Longford
12,928
8,761
68%
Louth
41,176
25,255
61%
Mayo
51,363
38,741
75%
Meath
60,652
38,278
63%
Monaghan
20,176
13,871
69%
North Tipperary
24,839
18,077
73%
Offaly
25,224
15,175
60%
Roscommon
23,888
16,124
68%
Sligo
25,281
17,821
70%
South Dublin
81,822
52,378
64%
South Tipperary
30,368
20,737
68%
Waterford City
15,753
10,661
68%
Waterford County
24,777
16,474
67%
Westmeath
29,872
20,448
69%
Wexford
56,030
36,695
66%
Wicklow
45,665
32,035
70%
National
1,620,814
1,109,284
68%

Tenant Purchase Scheme Applications

 376. Deputy John O'Mahony Information on John O'Mahony Zoom on John O'Mahony asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government Information on Phil Hogan Zoom on Phil Hogan when he will announce the new guidelines for the new tenant purchase scheme that is replacing the current tenant purchase scheme 1995; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [53915/12]

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 Proposals are being prepared in my Department for legislation to underpin a new scheme for the sale of existing local authority houses to tenants. The scheme will be based on the incremental purchase model, involving discounts for tenants based on household income and a discount-related charge on the property that will dwindle away over a period unless the house is resold or the tenant purchaser fails to comply with conditions of the initial sale. The precise terms of the new scheme will be set out in regulations when the necessary legislation is enacted.

Planning Issues

 377. 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 his views on planning issues (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [53928/12]

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 no function in relation to the matter raised. Under section 30 of the Planning and Development Acts 2000-2010, I am specifically precluded from exercising any power or control in relation to any particular case with which a planning authority or An Bord Pleanála is or may be concerned.

Water Meters Installation

 378. Deputy Michael Healy-Rae Information on Michael Healy-Rae Zoom on Michael Healy-Rae asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government Information on Phil Hogan Zoom on Phil Hogan if the contractors who are to be given the work of installing water meters nationwide have been appointed; the names of these contractors; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [53930/12]

 403. 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 outline the exact stage at which tenders for the manufacturing of water meter boundary boxes are at with the Irish Water Board; is the tendering process open; and the criteria for companies and are the Irish Water Board intending to use local companies. [54305/12]

 423. Deputy Brian Stanley Information on Brian Stanley Zoom on Brian Stanley asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government Information on Phil Hogan Zoom on Phil Hogan if he will provide a detailed breakdown of the cost of installing domestic water meters and the total cost for installation of the boxes for water meters. [54575/12]

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. 378, 403 and 423 together.

The Government has decided that Irish Water, a new State-owned water company to be established as an independent subsidiary within the Bord Gáis Éireann Group, will be responsible for the domestic water metering programme. The Government has recently approved the preparation of legislation to assign the necessary powers to allow Irish Water to undertake the metering programme.

A number of procurement notices were published on the Government e-tenders website last month for elements of the metering programme. Bord Gáis Éireann has recently published details of the procurement process for the meters and associated equipment and for regional contractors for the metering programme. My Department published details of the qualification system for the sub-contractors for the installation of the water meters on 23 November 2012. No contracts have been awarded at this stage. It would not be appropriate to release cost estimates for the metering programme at this stage of the procurement process.

Electoral Commission Establishment

 379. Deputy Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin Information on Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin Zoom on Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government Information on Phil Hogan Zoom on Phil Hogan the progress made towards the establishment of an Electoral Commission as committed to in the Programme for Government; and if he will make a statement on the matter.  [53974/12]

Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government (Deputy Phil Hogan): Information on Phil Hogan Zoom on Phil Hogan The Programme for Government includes a range of political reform measures a number of which are in my area of responsibility as Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government. Many of the measures have already been implemented through legislation enacted in 2011 to provide for a reduction in the number of TDs, reduced spending limits at Presidential elections and time limits for the holding of bye elections, and legislation enacted in 2012 to strengthen the political funding regime in Ireland. That legislation also provides for the payment of state funding to political parties being conditional on parties having at least 30% women and 30% men candidates at the next general election.

The debate on the Electoral (Amendment) (Dáil Constituencies) Bill 2012, which was published on 5 October 2012, commenced in the Dáil on 20 November. The Government legislation programme includes an Electoral (Amendment) (Referendum Spending and scellaneous Provisions) Bill to be published in 2013 which will implement more commitments in the Programme for Government. Arising from the Action Programme for Effective Local Government I have established a Local Electoral Area Boundary Committee to review and make recommendations on local electoral area boundaries in time for the 2014 local elections and my Department is providing administrative support to that committee.

Following these tasks, I will be addressing the Programme for Government commitment to establish an Electoral Commission to subsume functions of existing bodies and my Department. Establishment of an Electoral Commission will be a major body of work. Issues for consideration include international best practice, the Commission's structure and functions, who it reports to, its relationship with other bodies currently involved in electoral administration, and the approach to be followed in relation to the extensive legislation that will be required, as well as practical matters including staffing and funding arrangements.

Electoral Divisions Establishment

 380. Deputy Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin Information on Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin Zoom on Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government Information on Phil Hogan Zoom on Phil Hogan his plans to carry out research to ascertain the impact of Saturday voting in the recent Children’s Referendum and to inform future policy decisions in this regard; and if he will make a statement on the matter.  [53975/12]

Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government (Deputy Phil Hogan): Information on Phil Hogan Zoom on Phil Hogan Arrangements for the holding of referendums are set out in the Referendum Acts 1994–2001. Under Section 10 of the Referendum Act 1994 I am required to appoint the day upon which the poll at the referendum shall take place. The Act allows for the taking of the poll on any day of the week and this flexibility allows all relevant factors to be taken into account at any given time in setting the polling day. While I have no proposals to change the current arrangements for the holding of referendums or to carry out research to ascertain the impact of Saturday voting in the recent Children’s referendum, the arrangements in place are kept under review in my Department in the light of all relevant developments.

Regeneration Projects Status

 381. 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 if he will explain the operation of Ballymun Regeneration Limited; if he is satisfied with the level of engagement that the company has with the local community, and the way that involvement is monitored  [53996/12]

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 Ballymun Regeneration Limited (BRL) was established by Dublin City Council in 1997, under the Companies' Acts, following a Government decision that year to demolish the flat blocks and replace them with standard housing as part of the social and economic regeneration of the area as a whole. BRL’s principal objects are, inter alia, to prepare plans for the redevelopment and regeneration of Ballymun and to act as developer/contractor for the regeneration project. In accordance with the Memorandum and Articles of Association, all contracts procured and entered into by BRL, including services and works contracts, are in the name of the company.

  BRL is a company limited by guarantee, and not having a share capital, and is registered with the Companies Registration Office. The company is wholly owned by Dublin City Council; the shareholders of the company consist of seven senior officials of Dublin City Council. The company is overseen by a Board of Directors drawn from the local community, local business interests, representatives of statutory bodies involved in regeneration and elected members and officials of Dublin City Council.

  BRL has its own Chief Executive Officer and management structure and is staffed in a number of different ways including through secondment of staff from Dublin City Council and secondments from other local authorities. These secondees remain permanent and pensionable employees of their respective local authorities. The company also recruited a number of fixed-term contract staff directly through open competition. It is a matter for BRL to determine the numbers, duration and terms of individual contracts having regard to work demands and the particular skill-sets required to plan and deliver individual projects.

  The Ballymun regeneration project is now moving into the completion phase and all demolition and construction projects are expected to be substantially completed by 2014. In light of this, it is expected that staff numbers will decline in line with the decrease in the overall level of planning and construction activity in Ballymun.

  In terms of the consultation and communications process, the emphasis has changed from the initial strategic level consultation with stakeholders, local community groups and residents associations in relation to the development and implementation of the regeneration masterplan to the local level of one-to-one engagement with residents in relation to relocation. Consultation and communication on matters relating to regeneration policy and practice is also facilitated by having local community and public representatives on the Board of BRL.

  BRL’s offices are located at the Civic Centre on Main Street and are open to the public from Monday to Friday between the hours of 9.00 and 17.00. BRL have a dedicated Communications Team available at their offices to deal with telephone and email queries and also to deal with queries and complaints from members of the public in relation to any matter within its remit.

Election Management System

 382. 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 if he is satisfied that the Dublin County Sheriff operated a fair and transparent method of recruitment for polling station operatives in view of his suggestion that preference should be given to unemployed persons. [54000/12]

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 selection, appointment and training of polling station and count staff in accordance with the relevant provisions of electoral law.

My Department issues guidance to Returning Officers in advance of each election and referendum. The guidance emphasises that the smooth conduct of polls is dependent on maintaining a cadre of sufficiently skilled and experienced people. Having regard to that overall objective, returning officers are advised to employ competent and efficient persons as polling staff and asked to give consideration, where possible, to employing suitable persons who are unemployed.

In addition, at my request, my Department wrote to each Returning Officer on 4 October 2012, advising that, wherever practicable, the opportunity should be taken to employ unemployed persons at polling stations and in carrying out the subsequent counting of votes at elections and referendums so as to provide opportunity for work experience to unemployed persons. I believe that this should apply particularly in relation to the Polling Clerk position, where the responsibilities of the post can be fulfilled under the guidance of the Presiding Officer.

My Department wrote to Returning Officers on 19 November 2012 asking that they outline the extent to which unemployed persons were engaged in the conduct of the poll and the counting of the votes at the referendum held on 10 November 2012. They were also invited to comment on the issues that can arise in providing temporary employment to the unemployed at elections and referendums, based on their experiences. I will consider the information received in due course.

Private Residential Tenancies Board Remit

 383. Deputy Pearse Doherty Information on Pearse Doherty Zoom on Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government Information on Phil Hogan Zoom on Phil Hogan the efforts made to ensure that first time landlords are aware of their obligations to register with the Private Residential Tenancies Board; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [54039/12]

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 The Residential Tenancies Act 2004 applies to every residential dwelling that is the subject of a tenancy and that does not fall within any of the exemption categories set out in Section 3 of the Act. Section 134 of the Act places a legal obligation on the landlords of such dwellings to apply to the Private Residential Tenancies Board (PRTB) to register the tenancies and such application is to be made within one month from the commencement of the tenancy.

  While I have no function in the operational matters of the PRTB, an independent statutory body under the Act, I understand that the Board is active in developing awareness among landlords of the requirement to register tenancies. I understand that the PRTB website www.prtb.ie contains material on this issue and that the PRTB also advertises this obligation in relevant printed and online publications. I am also advised that the PRTB has issued more than 30,000 information letters to landlords to date in 2012 regarding their legal obligation under the Act to apply to register tenancies. In addition the PRTB has issued more than 8,000 formal letters of notice to landlords who did not apply to register, despite these reminders.

Arts Council Funding

 384. Deputy Michael Healy-Rae Information on Michael Healy-Rae Zoom on Michael Healy-Rae asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government Information on Phil Hogan Zoom on Phil Hogan if he will protect the allocation of funding to the Arts Council and local authorities (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [54048/12]

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. General purpose grants contribute towards meeting the reasonable cost to local authorities of providing services to their customers. 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 in 2013, having regard to the current pressures on the public finances and motor tax income. It is a matter for each local authority to determine its own spending priorities, including investment in the Arts, in the context of the annual budgetary process, having regard to both locally identified needs and available resources.

Unfinished Housing Developments

 385. Deputy Dessie Ellis Information on Dessie Ellis Zoom on Dessie Ellis asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government Information on Phil Hogan Zoom on Phil Hogan if the money for works to be carried out on an estate (details supplied) in County Longford are earmarked for particular works on the site; what those works are; and the way these decisions were made. [54049/12]

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 In August 2012, my Department approved funding totalling €91,753.40 to cover the cost of addressing immediate public safety concerns in respect of this development. It is now clear that, building on existing analysis, a comprehensive assessment and plan is required, and is being evolved by the local authority, to determine the cause or causes of the difficulties with this development and potential routes to their resolution. While this is primarily a matter for the local authority working with local residents and property owners, I have now made a provisional allocation of up to a further €200,000 to Longford County Council to contribute to the costs of any public safety remedial works arising from the assessment and plan referred to above.

Waste Management Regulations

 386. Deputy Patrick Nulty Information on Patrick Nulty Zoom on Patrick Nulty asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government Information on Phil Hogan Zoom on Phil Hogan the date on which the programme for Government commitment to introduce a national waiver scheme for waste collection services will be implemented.  [54077/12]

Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government (Deputy Phil Hogan): Information on Phil Hogan Zoom on Phil Hogan The Government’s new waste policy, A Resource Opportunity - Waste Management Policy in Ireland, was published in July 2012. Among the measures included in the policy is the establishment of an interdepartmental working group to report to Government with options to minimise the impact of waste charges on low income households. The working group, which comprises representatives of my Department and the Departments of Social Protection; Public Expenditure and Reform; Finance; and the Tánaiste's Office, will shortly be submitting a report to Government for consideration.

International Agreements

 387. Deputy Sean Fleming Information on Seán Fleming Zoom on Seán Fleming asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government Information on Phil Hogan Zoom on Phil Hogan when Ireland will fully implement the Aarhus Convention; if this will have an impact for wind farms here; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [54106/12]

Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government (Deputy Phil Hogan): Information on Phil Hogan Zoom on Phil Hogan Prior to ratification of the Aarhus Convention it was necessary to ensure that Ireland had fully implemented its provisions in national law. Following confirmation from the Attorney General that all provisions were in place - over 60 pieces of legislation have been used to implement the Convention, including a number of amendments to the Planning and Development Acts - Ireland ratified the Convention on 20 June 2012. Accordingly, the development planning/control and licensing systems in this country are now fully compatible with the provisions of the Convention in terms of access to environmental information, public participation in decision-making and access to justice in environmental matters. The requirements applicable to relevant categories of development/activity, including windfarms, are set out in the relevant legislation.

Departmental Staff Rehiring

 388. Deputy Sean Fleming Information on Seán Fleming Zoom on Seán Fleming asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government Information on Phil Hogan Zoom on Phil Hogan the number of veterinary inspectors who availed of the early retirement scheme earlier this year that are currently working for his Department on a contract/agency or other basis; the amount of money paid to them since they took early retirement and a timescale for when this practice will end and appropriate new staff employed in this area; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [54107/12]

Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government (Deputy Phil Hogan): Information on Phil Hogan Zoom on Phil Hogan There are no veterinary inspectors working in my Department.

Cross-Border Co-operation

 389. Deputy Peadar Tóibín Information on Peadar Tóibín Zoom on Peadar Tóibín asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government Information on Phil Hogan Zoom on Phil Hogan if he will outline projects which his Department cooperates with the Department of the Environment in the North.  [54154/12]

Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government (Deputy Phil Hogan): Information on Phil Hogan Zoom on Phil Hogan There is ongoing co-operation between my Department and the Department of Environment in Northern Ireland including discussions on matters of common interest and implementation of specific projects and programmes. Much of this activity is brought forward under the aegis of the North South ministerial Council. Current and recent activity includes:

 - Co-operation on an all-island Bulky Waste Reuse Best Practice Management Feasibility Study which will be published shortly.

 - Publication of an All-Island Recycled Plastic Waste Arisings Study.

 - Joint implementation of a framework agreement for the repatriation of waste which originated in this State but which was illegally disposed of in Northern Ireland.

 - Jointly undertaking an all-island tyre survey that will assist in the regulation and enforcement of this waste stream. It is expected that the final report will be completed shortly.

 - Joint implementation of the EU Water Framework Directive and River Basin Management planning in the International River Basin Districts (Shannon, Neagh-Bann and North-Western).

 - Co-funding of a range of projects under the EU PEACE III and INTERREG IVA Programmes.

 - Exploration of opportunities to cooperate on implementation of EU Directives on Ambient Air Quality and Noise.

Fire Service Issues

 390. Deputy Seán Kenny Information on Seán Kenny Zoom on Seán Kenny asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government Information on Phil Hogan Zoom on Phil Hogan the budget allocated to the Fire Services Capital Programme for the years 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010 and 2011; the actual amount spent in each of these years; and if he will make a statement on the matter.  [54239/12]

Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government (Deputy Phil Hogan): Information on Phil Hogan Zoom on Phil Hogan 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, the provision of a premises and the making of such other provisions as it considers necessary or desirable, is a statutory function of individual fire authorities under the provisions of the Fire Services Act 1981. My Department supports fire authorities through the setting of general policy and guidance, and the provision of capital funding, including the recoupment (within the overall funding available) of costs incurred by fire authorities in relation to the approved purchase of fire appliances and specialist emergency and communications equipment as well as construction and upgrading of fire stations.

  Capital funding allocated for the years 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010 and 2011, and the actual amount spent in each of these years was as follows:-

Year Budget

Allocated (€m)
Amount Spent ( €m)

(recouped to LAs)
2007 20.95 24.06
2008 23.95 23.95
2009 20.00 20.50
2010 18.00 18.70
2011 11.25 12.25


  Continued investment in the fire appliance fleet has been identified as the current national priority. In that context and in order to deliver cost efficiencies, I have approved an innovative programme which is currently underway involving fire authorities aggregating demand and jointly procuring 17 fire appliances. Fire services infrastructure is generally in a very good condition as a result of investment in appliances, equipment and fire stations to date. Given the current constraints on public finances, further support from my Department’s fire services capital programme will have regard to the budgetary situation, national priorities, the totality of requests from fire authorities countrywide, their priorities and the status of existing facilities , the extent of previous investment in fire services and the value for money offered by proposals.

Housing Adaptation Grants Expenditure

 391. Deputy Alan Farrell Information on Alan Farrell Zoom on Alan Farrell asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government Information on Phil Hogan Zoom on Phil Hogan if further funding will be provided to Fingal County Council in order to fund housing adaptations grants that have been approved but unable to complete due to lack of funding; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [54259/12]

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 Exchequer allocations for 2012 totalling some €54.2 million were notified to local authorities in February 2012 in respect of the Housing Adaptation Grant Schemes for Older People and People with a Disability. Of this, €1,657,892 was allocated to Fingal County Council and to date €1,387,654 has been recouped to the Council. Following a request for additional funding to be made available this year, my Department advised Fingal County Council on 26 October that, as a result of an under-spend by some local authorities of their grant allocations for 2012, a sum of €200,000 could be made available for spending on the grant schemes in the current year. I understand however that the council are not in a position to draw down the extra funding this year. In the case of necessary extensions and adaptations to the local authority’s social housing stock to meet the needs of tenants with a disability my Department allocated some €201,669 to Fingal County Council in respect of these works in 2012.


Last Updated: 06/05/2020 11:38:59 First Page Previous Page Page of 89 Next Page Last Page