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. 187-198
 Header Item Valuation Office
 Header Item Flood Relief Schemes Funding
 Header Item Freedom of Information Remit
 Header Item Secret Service
 Header Item Office of Public Works Properties
 Header Item Public Sector Staff Remuneration
 Header Item Pensions Levy
 Header Item Ordnance Survey Ireland Properties
 Header Item Flood Prevention Measures
 Header Item Pensions Legislation

Tuesday, 9 December 2014

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 861 No. 1

First Page Previous Page Page of 109 Next Page Last Page

Written Answers Nos. 187-198

Valuation Office

 187. Deputy Robert Troy Information on Robert Troy Zoom on Robert Troy asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform Information on Brendan Howlin Zoom on Brendan Howlin the reason for the delay in the Valuation Office issuing a valuation on a property (details supplied) in County Westmeath; the timeframe for a valuation; if the local authority will be compensated for the delay; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [46748/14]

 192. Deputy Robert Troy Information on Robert Troy Zoom on Robert Troy asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform Information on Brendan Howlin Zoom on Brendan Howlin the reason for the delay in the Valuation Office issuing a valuation on a property (details supplied) in County Westmeath; the timeframe for a valuation; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [46747/14]

Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform (Deputy Brendan Howlin): Information on Brendan Howlin Zoom on Brendan Howlin I propose to take Questions Nos. 187 and 192 together.

Under section 28 (4) of the Valuation Act 2001, a Revision Officer appointed by the Commissioner of Valuation may carry out a revision of valuation in relation to a particular property only if a material change of circumstances has occurred such as the coming into being of a new building, a change in value due to structural alterations of an existing building, total or partial demolition of a building or a sub-division or amalgamation of relevant property.  The Commissioner of Valuation is independent in the performance of his functions under the Act and the making of valuations for rating purposes is his sole prerogative.  The statute does not accord me as Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform any function in this regard. 

I have been informed by the Valuation Office that a revision application was received from Westmeath County Council on 22 August 2014 in relation to the property concerned.  A Revision Officer has not been appointed to date as the property is still under construction and it will not open for a number of weeks. When it is complete, it will be valued by a Revision Officer and a proposed valuation certificate will be issued to the occupier of the property, in accordance with section 29 of the Act.

It is a "new build" and, therefore, will be liable for rates under the new 'property entry levy' charge which is levied on all newly erected or newly constructed properties.  The final valuation certificate for the relevant property  is likely to be issued for  early in 2015. 

Flood Relief Schemes Funding

 188. Deputy Charlie McConalogue Information on Charlie McConalogue Zoom on Charlie McConalogue asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform Information on Brendan Howlin Zoom on Brendan Howlin if his attention has been drawn to funding that could assist an organisation (details supplied) in County Donegal to address flood damage dating from August 2014; and if he will make a statement on the matter.  [46782/14]

Minister of State at the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform (Deputy Simon Harris): Information on Simon Harris Zoom on Simon Harris The cost of repairs to flood damaged properties would normally be covered by insurance taken out by individual property owners. There is no funding available from the Office of Public Works for this purpose. As regards the flooding in Ramelton it is a matter for Donegal County Council, in the first instance, to investigate and address flooding issues in the County.

Ramelton was identified through the national Preliminary Flood Risk Assessment in 2011 as an area where the flood risk was potentially significant. It is therefore designated as an Area for Further Assessment (AFA) under the North Western/ Neagh Bann Catchment Flood Risk Assessment and Management (CFRAM) Study. OPW is currently undertaking this study in partnership with the relevant local authorities including Donegal County Council. An engineering consultancy company has been commissioned to carry out the study on behalf of the OPW.

Following the significant flood event in August, the engineering consultants were on site in Ramelton and collected data on flood extents, levels and cause of the flooding. The flooding in Pound Street resulted from intense rainfall over a short period of time. It exceeded the capacity of the drainage infrastructure and river channels in the area. The information collected will contribute to the analysis of flooding in the town under the CFRAM study and to ensuring that any future mitigating measures proposed are robust and effective. Public consultation on the draft flood maps for Ramelton will be held in early 2015 and this will be advertised locally. A Flood Risk Management Plan for the study area will be produced which will include an integrated and prioritised set of measures to address flood risk.

Freedom of Information Remit

 189. Deputy Seán Kenny Information on Seán Kenny Zoom on Seán Kenny asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform Information on Brendan Howlin Zoom on Brendan Howlin the position regarding freedom of information legislation; if An Garda Síochána is subject to same; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [46954/14]

Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform (Deputy Brendan Howlin): Information on Brendan Howlin Zoom on Brendan Howlin The Freedom of Information (Amendment) Act came into effect on 14 October 2014.

In line with the Programme for Government, the Act provides for the extension of FOI to An Garda Síochána for its administrative records relating to human resources, or finance or procurement matters, subject to security exemptions.

In accordance with Section 1(3)(b) of the FOI Act 2014, in the case of a public body - such as is referred to in the Deputy's question - that was not subject to FOI under the FOI Act 1997 but is subject to FOI under the 2014 Act, the Act will apply to that body 6 months from enactment or on such later day, not later than 12 months from enactment, as the Minister may by order appoint.  Following the recent enactment of the FOI reform legislation I will be consulting with my Government colleagues, as appropriate, on any business case made for the date to which FOI should apply to any specific public body, within the timeframe laid down in the legislation. 

Secret Service

 190. Deputy Brian Walsh Information on Brian Walsh Zoom on Brian Walsh asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform Information on Brendan Howlin Zoom on Brendan Howlin if he will provide the estimate for the Secret Service in each of the past ten years; the actual amount expended in each of those years; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47157/14]

Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform (Deputy Brendan Howlin): Information on Brendan Howlin Zoom on Brendan Howlin The estimate and expenditure under the Vote for the Secret Service in the period 2004 to 2014 are listed in the following table:

YearEstimateExpenditure
-€000€000
2004767350
2005786358
2006806374
2007805516
2008818608
2009900602
20101,000581
20111,000568
20121,000515
20131,000587
20141,000n/a


  Each year's figures are published as part of the annual estimates process and in the C&AG's Annual Report.

Office of Public Works Properties

 191. Deputy Terence Flanagan Information on Terence Flanagan Zoom on Terence Flanagan asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform Information on Brendan Howlin Zoom on Brendan Howlin the position regarding an Office of Public Works owned premises (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47224/14]

Minister of State at the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform (Deputy Simon Harris): Information on Simon Harris Zoom on Simon Harris The planning process for relocation of the Dublin City Mortuary and the State Pathologist into refurbished premises at the former Whitehall Garda Station Dublin 9 has been completed.

  Tenders for the main works will be sought in early 2015 with appointment of the Contractor expected by end of Q1 2015. The works are programmed to take 9 months to complete with handover expected towards the end of 2015.

  Question No. 192 answered with Question No. 187.

Public Sector Staff Remuneration

 193. Deputy Robert Dowds Information on Robert Dowds Zoom on Robert Dowds asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform Information on Brendan Howlin Zoom on Brendan Howlin his plans to roll back on the Financial Emergency Measures in the Public Interest legislation; and the impact of same on those public servants at work and those who are retired. [46795/14]

Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform (Deputy Brendan Howlin): Information on Brendan Howlin Zoom on Brendan Howlin I refer the Deputy to my reply of 6 November 2014 to Parliamentary Question Number 42277.  The position remains unchanged.

Pensions Levy

 194. Deputy Mary Lou McDonald Information on Mary Lou McDonald Zoom on Mary Lou McDonald asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform Information on Brendan Howlin Zoom on Brendan Howlin if, in his view, it is reasonable and fair that a worker for an education and training board who holds two half time positions equivalent to a full-time post, is only entitled to a pension for one half of that post but is paying the pension-related deduction on the full salary that is, for €53 pension the worker is paying €250 PRD. [46800/14]

Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform (Deputy Brendan Howlin): Information on Brendan Howlin Zoom on Brendan Howlin The public service Pension-related Deduction (PRD) was introduced in March 2009 under the Financial Emergency Measures in the Public Interest Act 2009.  PRD is a progressively structured multi-band reduction imposed on the remuneration of public servants who are members of a public service pension scheme or have entitlement to benefit under such a scheme or who have an analogous arrangement. The deduction is calculated by reference to remuneration. Remuneration is defined at section 1 of the Act as emoluments to which Chapter 4 of Part 42 of the Taxes Consolidation Act 1997 applies or is applied and payable by or on behalf of a public service body to a public servant for his or her services as a public servant. The PRD is not a pension contribution and does not confer pension entitlements. There is no relationship between the level of PRD payable and the level of potential public service pension benefit.   

I have no information on the specific employment circumstances of the individual worker in question.  Public Service  employers are required to implement the Pension-related Deduction strictly in accordance with the terms of the Financial Emergency Measures in the Public Interest Act 2009. 

Ordnance Survey Ireland Properties

 195. Deputy Fergus O'Dowd Information on Fergus O'Dowd Zoom on Fergus O'Dowd asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform Information on Brendan Howlin Zoom on Brendan Howlin the proposed works to Mountjoy House which is under the aegis of the Ordinance Survey Ireland; if a restoration and a new use is envisaged for this building; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [46981/14]

Minister of State at the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform (Deputy Simon Harris): Information on Simon Harris Zoom on Simon Harris Other than minimal fabric maintenance to arrest deterioration the Commissioners of Public Works are not aware of any plans by the Ordnance Survey Ireland to restore the house or of any proposed new use for the building.

Flood Prevention Measures

 196. Deputy Fergus O'Dowd Information on Fergus O'Dowd Zoom on Fergus O'Dowd asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform Information on Brendan Howlin Zoom on Brendan Howlin if he will provide an update on tackling flooding in an area (details supplied) in County Meath; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47019/14]

 197. Deputy Fergus O'Dowd Information on Fergus O'Dowd Zoom on Fergus O'Dowd asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform Information on Brendan Howlin Zoom on Brendan Howlin if he will provide an update on any new flood relief proposals for County Louth and east Meath; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47020/14]

Minister of State at the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform (Deputy Simon Harris): Information on Simon Harris Zoom on Simon Harris I propose to take Questions Nos. 196 and 197 together.

Arising from flood events in the area of Northlands Estate in Bettystown, Meath County Council submitted an application to the Office of Public Works (OPW) for funding to engage consultants to investigate the problem and bring forward proposals for mitigation measures. Funding was approved and the tendering process to procure consultants is currently ongoing. The OPW understands that the Council expects to appoint consultants shortly, most likely early in 2015.

Louth County Council has submitted an application under the OPW's Minor Flood Mitigation and Coastal Protection Works Scheme for funding of €26,000 in relation to a project for coastal remedial works at Whitestown. This is being assessed by the OPW engineering staff currently.

Louth County Council was allocated up to €191,000 for repairs to damaged coastal protection infrastructure arising out of the severe weather in the period 13 December, 2013 to 6 January 2014. The Council has to date submitted a claim to the OPW to draw down €118,494 of this total amount. This is expected to be processed before end 2014.

Meath County Council was allocated up to €75,000 for repairs to damaged coastal protection infrastructure arising out of the severe weather in the period 13 December, 2013 to 6 January 2014. The Council has to date not submitted a claim to the OPW to draw down any of this total amount.

With regard to flood relief proposals in counties Meath and Louth generally, the OPW's Catchment Flood Risk Assessment and Management (CFRAM) programme is assessing the most significant flood risk in those counties and, under the programme, Flood Risk Management Plans will be produced to include measures to address that risk. The North Western/Neagh Bann Catchment Flood Risk Assessment and Management (CFRAM) study, which is one of six such studies currently ongoing, will assess flood risk in 40 areas of significant risk, known as Areas for Further Assessment (AFAs), a number of which are in County Louth. The areas of flood risk in east Meath have already been studied under the Fingal/East Meath CFRAM pilot study.

Currently, draft flood maps are being produced under the North Western/Neagh Bann study and Public Consultation Days will be held in each location in early 2015. These will be advertised locally and members of the public will have an opportunity to provide comments on the draft maps. Following completion of the mapping phase, the study will examine all options to reduce flood risk, including both structural and non-structural measures, and will also consider related environmental issues. Structural measures would involve constructing flood defences or increasing conveyance capacity where appropriate, while the non-structural options would include such measures as the introduction of flood warning systems. Further information and updates on the North Western/Neagh Bann study are available on the website www.neaghbanncframstudy.ie

Pending completion of the CFRAM Programme subject to cost benefit and funding availability, it would be open to local authorities to apply for funding to undertake minor flood mitigation measures under the OPW Minor Flood Mitigation Works and Coastal Protection Scheme. It is also open to the local authorities to undertake measures using their own resources.

Pensions Legislation

 198. Deputy Joe Costello Information on Joe Costello Zoom on Joe Costello asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform Information on Brendan Howlin Zoom on Brendan Howlin if he will amend the single public service pension scheme to enable the inward transfer of pension savings from other pensions; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47248/14]

Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform (Deputy Brendan Howlin): Information on Brendan Howlin Zoom on Brendan Howlin The Public Service Pensions (Single Scheme and Other Provisions) Act 2012  which provides the statutory basis for Single Public Service Pension Scheme enables me to make regulations providing for inter alia the inward transfers of pension savings from other pension schemes and the purchase of additional pension rights by Single Scheme members. I understand work on the development of a draft scheme of transfer and purchase by my Department is well advanced. The intention is that details of the planned purchase and transfer scheme can be finalised and implemented early next year.  


Last Updated: 24/04/2020 15:38:42 First Page Previous Page Page of 109 Next Page Last Page