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 Header Item Written Answers Nos. 151-157
 Header Item Leader Programmes Funding
 Header Item Housing Issues
 Header Item Fire Service
 Header Item Local Authority Housing Provision
 Header Item Local Authority Housing Provision
 Header Item Housing Adaptation Grants Funding

Wednesday, 12 June 2013

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 806 No. 2

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Written Answers Nos. 151-157

Leader Programmes Funding

 151. Deputy Dara Calleary Information on Dara Calleary Zoom on Dara Calleary asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government Information on Phil Hogan Zoom on Phil Hogan the reason funding which was previously sanctioned by his Department is not being made available for a project (details supplied) in County Donegal; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28363/13]

Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government (Deputy Phil Hogan): Information on Phil Hogan Zoom on Phil Hogan I understand that the project referred to in the Question was approved by Donegal Local Development Company under the LEADER elements of the Rural Development Programme 2007-2013. It was selected for inspection by the Inspection Services Division of my Department and, following an audit of the file, it was identified that, among other issues, the procurement for the project was not compliant with the Public Procurement Guidelines. The European Regulations under which the Programme operates require that all projects must be compliant with public procurement.

Housing Issues

 152. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan Information on Bernard Durkan Zoom on Bernard Durkan asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government Information on Phil Hogan Zoom on Phil Hogan the extent to which he has quantified the local authority housing requirements in each local authority area by reference to the number of the housing applicants recorded by each authority; if he intends to take any specific steps to address this issue in the short and medium term thereby alleviating some of the cost of rent support currently incurred annually; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28378/13]

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 accordance with Section 21 of the Housing (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 2009, I directed all housing authorities to prepare a summary of social housing assessments carried out in their areas on 7 May 2013. A report on the results will be published in the autumn and this will provide an important insight into the level and type of need for social housing support across the country. The results of the assessment carried out in 2011 are available on my Department’s website www.environ.ie and the Housing Agency's website www.housing.ie.

  In terms of addressing that need, the Government is committed to responding more quickly and on a larger scale to social housing support requirements through a variety of mechanisms, including through increased provision of social housing. In July 2012, I announced details of a three-year funding programme of €100 million to deliver some 800 new units of voluntary and local authority owned social housing. I am monitoring expenditure under my Department's housing programme for 2013, together with the level of contractual commitments extending into 2014, with a view to a decision later this year on approving some limited new construction and house purchases over the period to end 2014.

  Delivery of social housing will be significantly facilitated through more flexible funding models such as the Rental Accommodation Scheme and leasing but the Government is also committed to developing other funding mechanisms that will increase the supply of permanent new social housing. Such mechanisms will include options to purchase, build to lease and the sourcing of loan finance by approved housing bodies for construction and acquisition. There is also obvious potential, across a range of housing programmes, for the Government's objective of sourcing and providing suitable residential units for use as social housing to be aligned with the commercial objectives of the National Asset Management Agency (NAMA). My Department and the Housing Agency are engaged with NAMA to ensure the identification of suitable housing units for social purposes and this process is on-going.

  In spite of the challenging circumstances within which local authorities must operate the final outcome for 2012 is expected to be in the region of 5,000 housing units. Given the current volatility of the market and different challenges to the channels of supply it is difficult to estimate the likely output of new units for social housing this year. However, it is provisionally estimated that in the region of 5,000 units will be provided for social housing in 2013. The payment of rent supplement is a matter for my colleague the nister for Social Protection.

Fire Service

 153. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan Information on Bernard Durkan Zoom on Bernard Durkan asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government Information on Phil Hogan Zoom on Phil Hogan if he is satisfied regarding the adequacy of structures of the fire services part-time and whole-time throughout the country; if any particular weaknesses exist which might affect the ability of the services to respond in particular emergency situations; and if he will make a statement on the matter.  [28379/13]

Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government (Deputy Phil Hogan): Information on Phil Hogan Zoom on Phil Hogan I refer to the reply to Question No. 153 of 2 May 2013, which sets out the position in relation to this matter.

Local Authority Housing Provision

 154. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan Information on Bernard Durkan Zoom on Bernard Durkan asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government Information on Phil Hogan Zoom on Phil Hogan the extent to which it is expected to increase local authority housing stock in line with the local authority housing waiting lists in the next three years excluding any provisions in respect of voluntary housing bodies; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28380/13]

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 Government’s housing policy statement, published in June 2011, clearly identifies that the priority for Government will be to meet the most acute needs of households applying for social housing support. I am determined to ensure that the social housing programme optimises the delivery of social housing and the return for the resources invested. To achieve this, it is essential that we tailor the use of available Exchequer supports to prevailing conditions and explore the full range of solutions to address housing needs. The financial parameters within which we will be operating for the coming years rule out a return to large capital funded construction programmes. The Government is committed to responding more quickly and on a larger scale to social housing support needs through a variety of mechanisms, including through increased provision of social housing. In July 2012 I announced details of a three-year funding programme of €100 million to deliver some 800 new units of voluntary and local authority owned social housing. I am monitoring expenditure under my Department’s housing programme for 2013, together with the level of contractual commitments extending into 2014, with a view to a decision later this year on approving some limited new construction and house purchases over the period to end 2014.

Delivery of social housing will be significantly facilitated through more flexible funding models such as the Rental Accommodation Scheme and leasing but the Government is also committed to developing other funding mechanisms that will increase the supply of permanent new social housing. Such mechanisms will include options to purchase, build to lease and the sourcing of loan finance by approved housing bodies for construction and acquisition. There is also obvious potential, across a range of housing programmes, for the Government's objective of sourcing and providing suitable residential units for use as social housing to be aligned with the commercial objectives of the National Asset Management Agency (NAMA). My Department and the Housing Agency are engaged with NAMA to ensure delivery of housing units for social purposes.

In spite of the challenging circumstances within which local authorities must operate the final outcome for 2012 is expected to be in the region of 5,000 housing units. Given the current volatility of the market and different challenges to the channels of supply it is difficult to estimate the likely output of new units for social housing this year. However, it is provisionally estimated that in the region of 5,000 units will be provided for social housing in 2013.

Local Authority Housing Provision

 155. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan Information on Bernard Durkan Zoom on Bernard Durkan asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government Information on Phil Hogan Zoom on Phil Hogan the number of housing units likely to be constructed for or provided directly by local authorities or voluntary housing agencies in the course of the next four years; the extent to which this is intended to address the needs as defined by the current numbers on the waiting lists of the respective local authorities; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28381/13]

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 refer to the reply to Question Nos. 155 and 156 of 2 May 2013 which set out the position in this matter.

  Question No. 156 answered with Question No. 53.

Housing Adaptation Grants Funding

 157. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan Information on Bernard Durkan Zoom on Bernard Durkan asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government Information on Phil Hogan Zoom on Phil Hogan the extent to which the various local authorities have received adequate provision to meet the disabled person's housing adaption grant requirements in 2013; the numbers awaiting approval throughout the various local authorities countywide; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28383/13]

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 refer to the reply to Question No 159 of 2 May, 2013 which sets out the position in this matter.


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