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O'Dowd, Fergus

Tuesday, 4 December 2012

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. Nbr.


Leader Programmes Funding

There are no proposals to amalgamate local development companies into local authorities. The report, Putting People First: Action Programme for Effective Local Government, recommends greater align...More Button

The LEADER element of the Rural Development Programme (RDP) 2007-2013 currently has a minimum project allocation of €252 million based on the revised programme complement which came into force in J...More Button

Leader Programmes Funding (Continued)

The report refers to new synergies between local government and development agencies. As regards sharing facilities, if there is space in a local authority office, why should a development agency ...More Button

Like the Deputy, I have met people from the network. Their views are clear, as is the Government's view. It will remain a bottom-up approach and they will make a contribution, especially at the...More Button

The local development network is an important part of the process and pays a significant local and national contribution. The Minister will establish an implementation group shortly and the networ...More Button

Pyrite Remediation Programme Issues

I propose to take Questions Nos. 57 and 59 together.More Button

HomeBond is a private limited company providing structural guarantees for new houses and, since November 2008, the HomeBond insurance scheme has been underwritten by Allianz Insurance. As in the...More Button

Following receipt of the report of the independent pyrite panel in late June 2012, the Minister has engaged with all of the main stakeholders identified in the report, including HomeBond, to expl...More Button

It was considered that sufficient progress had been made to justify the continuation of these contacts for a further short period. However, matters must be concluded very shortly and outcomes mu...More Button

Pyrite Remediation Programme Issues (Continued)

With respect to the Deputy, her figure on the remediation of homes is wrong. The independent report, which I have with me, states that 1,100 homes which were seriously-----More Button

I did not interrupt Deputy Collins. The report states that 1,100 homes with serious pyrite problems are being addressed. I concur with the Deputy that all of the families involved are in an awful...More Button

I agree with the thrust of the Deputy's argument. As he correctly noted, this is a serious problem. I stress, however, that the Minister established the independent panel in June 2011 and it did ...More Button

One of the proposals in the pyrite report is to establish a resolution committee to address all outstanding issues. This will provide a fail-safe mechanism in the event that problems in certain ...More Button

Local authority problems in places such as Ballymun are being addressed successfully.More Button

Fingal County Council is not being criticised. The council dealt with the issue adequately as soon as it came to its notice in 2007. However, this matter never appeared on the building horizon un...More Button

None of the academic or training courses for professionals, inspectors of buildings and so on viewed it as an issue. The problem is being addressed.

  I agree with Deputy Ellis,...More Button

Motor Tax Yield

I propose to circulate in the Official Report a tabular statement setting out details of the number of motorists paying road tax by band for 2011 and to the end of October 2012 and setting out moto...More Button

Motor tax receipts by band for 2011   

Private vehicles based on engine capacity

...More Button

Goods Vehicles

Unladen weight (kg) More Button

Motor Tax Yield (Continued)

On a positive light, when people go to a Garda station to say that their car has not been driven for X amount of time and therefore they do not have to pay their motor tax, it is commonly referred ...More Button

I refute that utterly. Coming from a party which in 1977 – perhaps the Deputy was not around then-----More Button

I remind him that Fianna Fáil did away with motor tax completely.More Button

I did not interrupt Deputy Cowen. Let me repeat, in 1977 the then Fianna Fáil Government did away completely with all motor taxation-----More Button

-----and household charges.More Button

That is one of the reasons we got into the current mess. We are trying to clear up the last mess Fianna Fáil made when in government and part of the process is, unfortunately, what needs to happen...More Button

Household Charge Cost

I propose to take Questions Nos. 60 and 71 together.

  The Local Government (Household Charge) Act 2011 provides the legislative basis for the household charge. Under the Act, a...More Button

This time tomorrow the Deputy will have the answer to those questions. I cannot say what may or may not be in the budget.More Button

No. I am trying to answer the Deputy's questions fairly. His questions are about the household charge and not about the property tax. As I said, the property tax, if there is one, will be fully ...More Button

The household charge is in place for this year and if there are changes in the budget for next year, that policy will be announced tomorrow. If anybody is successfully pursued through the courts, ...More Button

-----it would be able to recover its costs from the person found to be liable.More Button

Pyrite Panel Report Implementation

I propose to take Questions Nos. 61, 62 and 84 together.More Button

The implementation of many of the recommendations in the pyrite report requires the involvement and co-operation of a number of parties, and implementation will be on a progressive basis. Given ...More Button

Following receipt of the pyrite report, the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government, Deputy Hogan, engaged with representatives from the Construction Industry Federation, the...More Button

A sizeable number of dwellings have been, and continue to be, remediated under various remediation processes. In a number of instances responsible builders are directly undertaking remediation w...More Button

Pyrite Panel Report Implementation (Continued)

A key factor is that only five of the 1,200 quarries in the country have been identified as being involved in pyrite. I am not making little of the problem when I say that a total of five quarries...More Button

I accept what Deputy Farrell is saying about the amber category. There are estates where pyrite is definitely present and where there is absolute evidence of pyrite heave or movement. That does...More Button

It is fundamental to the Government and to the Minister that the issue is being dealt with. It will, ideally, be dealt with through a voluntary consensus agreement with no cost to the State but ...More Button

Everyone's patience is wearing thin on this, most of all the people who live in those homes. We are all ad idem in this Chamber that it must be dealt with, ideally through a voluntary ...More Button

All I can say in the absence of the Minister is that he believes the process is crystallising and hopefully there will be a resolution shortly. If there is not, there is an alternative for resolut...More Button

That is a good point. The report clearly states there is a moral duty on all of the people involved, building federations, concrete suppliers, the quarries and on HomeBond in particular, to resolv...More Button

On road building, the report states that standards for road construction aggregate exclude the possibility of the use of pyrite.More Button

I am only quoting from the report and if the Deputy has information about other quarries, I would be very happy to receive that. The report refers to five. If there are six or seven, that is fine...More Button

The report outlines what amber represents and notes that the identification of pyrite in an estate does not necessarily mean that all dwellings in the estate are affected. The report states that...More Button

I concur with the Deputy. If we can sort it out without legislation, all the better. However, it must be sorted out independently and properly, particularly for the unfortunate home owners who mu...More Button

Water and Sewerage Schemes Status

The Water Services (Amendment) Act 2012 provides that the Environmental Protection Agency will make the national inspection plan for domestic wastewater treatment systems. A public consultation on...More Button

The training course for inspectors will be extended to suitably qualified local authority staff in early 2013. This will be followed by the commencement of inspections, which will be based on th...More Button

Water and Sewerage Schemes Status (Continued)

The Minister has stated repeatedly that he is prepared to consider all possible options to provide financial support to householders whose systems are deemed, following inspection, to require subst...More Button

The reason this was brought in by the Minister was to avoid potentially quite severe and continuous penalties under the Commission's legislative role. In an effort to avoid that but primarily to p...More Button

In a separate and different category, there was an outbreak of cryptosporidium in County Galway some years ago which meant it was not possible to drink water from the taps in Galway city for mont...More Button

Any financial support will have regard to the overall budgetary situation and the financial position of individual households, and we know who is responsible for the overall budgetary position.More Button

Building Regulations Application

I acknowledge the distressing and stressful situations which individuals face when building works in their home are not completed to the required acceptable standard. Since 1 June 1992, all new, e...More Button

The Department is liaising with local authorities in relation to significant building control issues that have arisen in several multi-unit developments. Local authorities have extensive powers ...More Button

Building Regulations Application (Continued)

Deputy Daly put her finger on the issue. Non-invasive inspections are visual inspections in many respects, and unless someone is physically examining each stage of construction as it proceeds ther...More Button

Local authorities and the building inspection regime are very active, and local authorities are pursuing people throughout the country. In Carlow 120 premises were inspected recently. In Clare,...More Button

I have met fire officers in local authorities and they are very active. Highly professional staff examine all of these issues and I am sure that first and foremost in their minds is identification...More Button

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 clea...More Button

EU Directives

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...More Button

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. ...More Button

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. Exper...More Button

Gas Exploration Licences (Continued)

I thank both Deputies for putting this matter before the House for debate. It is an important and current debate and I wish to refer to some of the facts. The first fact obviously is that were oi...More Button

Over the past decade, there has only been an average of a single exploration well per year. In recent years, however, there has been an increase in the number of exploration authorisations grant...More Button

Ireland has a clear policy of actively encouraging investment in oil and gas in order that we can enjoy both economic and energy security. A reasonable increase in exploration activity levels re...More Button

I thank both Deputies for their comments. So far, Ireland has had approximately 146 wells drilled. That compares with over 4,000 wells drilled in Britain and over 1,200 in Norway. The reason peo...More Button

We must be realistic and remain factual. We want these companies to find oil and attract them to the country. That is why we have our current level of consent and co-operation. There is also o...More Button

Local Government Reform

I propose to take Questions Nos. 67 and 69 together.

  The vision set out in the Action Programme for Effective Local Government: Putting People First is that local g...More Button

Security of the Elderly

The aim of the Seniors Alert Scheme is to support independent living for those over 65 , and of limited means, who live alone or who live with a person who is also over 65 years of age. Over the f...More Button

  Question No. 69 answered with Question No. 67.More Button

Departmental Reports

The EU/IMF Programme of Financial Support for Ireland contains a commitment to introduce a property tax for 2012. The Programme reflects the need, in the context of the State's overall financial po...More Button

An appropriate broadening of the revenue base for local government will be achieved through the Household Charge and the forthcoming full Local Property Tax. Income from the Household Charge and ...More Button

  Question No. 71 answered with Question No. 60.More Button

Nuclear Plants

In 2008 arising from contacts at Head of Government level, a confidential technical information exchange project relating to the Sellafield Site was established, with the cooperation of UK authorit...More Button

Election Management System

I understand that Minister Hogan has not been involved in any such discussions. The Constitutional Convention will be considering a number of issues, including giving citizens resident outside the...More Button

Inland Fisheries Issues

I am advised by Inland Fisheries Ireland that catchment wide electro-fishing is undertaken in juvenile salmon habitat close to shallow spawning redds and that this technique can only be undertaken ...More Button

I am advised by Inland Fishers Ireland (IFI) that the River Barrow has been identified as a priority river for a fish counter. In this regard IFI has recently secured funding from the Salmon Conser...More Button