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 Header Item Written Answers No. 1073-1091
 Header Item Pyrite Remediation Programme
 Header Item Pyrite Remediation Programme
 Header Item Pyrite Remediation Programme
 Header Item Local Authority Charges Yield
 Header Item Register of Electors Administration
 Header Item Planning Issues
 Header Item Environment Fund
 Header Item Rental Accommodation Scheme Application Numbers
 Header Item Rental Accommodation Scheme Payments
 Header Item Control of Dogs
 Header Item Rental Accommodation Scheme Application Numbers

Tuesday, 18 September 2012

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 774 No. 1

First Page Previous Page Page of 162 Next Page Last Page

Written Answers No. 1073-1091

Pyrite Remediation Programme

 1073. 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 if he has requested Bord Gáis Networks to inspect and monitor potential leaks due to upheaval from pyrite in all 74 known developments affected by pyrite in Ireland; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [37943/12]

Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government (Deputy Phil Hogan): Information on Phil Hogan Zoom on Phil Hogan My Department was in contact with Bord Gáis earlier this year in regard to estates affected by pyrite and, following a review of the estates notified to them, no unusual leak activity was detected. The management of the network is of course a matter for Bord Gáis. In line with normal safety practices, Bord Gáis would advise customers to have gas installations checked annually and, in any case, if a leak is suspected or there is a smell of gas, to notify them immediately.

  Question No. 1074 answered with Question No. 1017.

  Question No. 1075 answered with Question No. 1046.

  Question No. 1076 answered with Question No. 1017.

  Question No. 1077 answered with Question No. 1046.

Pyrite Remediation Programme

 1078. 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 if he accepts the recommendations of the City and County Managers Association that where pyrite problems are found, the sooner the matter is dealt with the better since the costs of remedial work escalate the longer one waits to carry out the work, and if he will act on this accordingly; if he will act on the CCMA recommendations 8.1.3 to 8.1.7 for a planned notification system so that in locations where pyrite problems have occurred this information should be used to notify other property owners and to ensure screening surveys are carried out with a view to detecting problems as early as possible and informing people what action they need to take; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [37948/12]

Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government (Deputy Phil Hogan): Information on Phil Hogan Zoom on Phil Hogan The recommendations referred to arose in the context of a submission to the independent Pyrite Panel established by me to assist in the task of identifying a way forward in relation to the problem of homes affected by pyritic heave. I am assured that all submissions received were fully considered by the Panel in coming to its conclusions and recommendations as outlined in its comprehensive report. The report provides me and the other stakeholders with a detailed framework to move forward towards achieving a solution for homeowners and I have already begun this process.

  Question No. 1079 answered with Question No. 1017.

Pyrite Remediation Programme

 1080. 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 in view of the fact that according to the pyrite report, at present only dwellings where a complaint has been submitted to the structural warranty provider are being considered for remediation, if he proposes to disregard the ten-year warranty limit, given the long time frame over which pyrite damage can materialise and given that HomeBond's publically stated position since August 2011 is that it does not cover pyrite damage; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [37950/12]

Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government (Deputy Phil Hogan): Information on Phil Hogan Zoom on Phil Hogan The figure of 850 dwellings categorised as “red” in the pyrite report is an indicative figure only. The Panel used the information it had collected to estimate the possible distribution of the ground floor dwellings across the three classifications of red, amber and green. However, it should be noted that the inclusion of a dwelling in the 850 figure does not necessarily mean that the dwelling has been confirmed as having reactive pyrite in the hardcore and/or pyritic heave.

The pyrite report clearly states that those parties with direct or indirect responsibility for the pyrite problem should bear the costs of remediation. Those identified as having responsibility include quarries, material suppliers, vendors, builders/subcontractors and relevant insurance companies. It is not intended that the establishment of any remediation process should absolve responsible parties, including warranty companies, from meeting their obligations under the terms and conditions of their respective schemes.

While I have no function in the operation of warranty companies I have expressed my disappointment with the stance adopted by HomeBond in withdrawing, in August 2011, cover for pyrite related damage to homeowners. I fully support the recommendation in the pyrite report that HomeBond should review its position and reinstate cover for pyrite damage. Following receipt of the pyrite report I engaged with all key stakeholders, including HomeBond, with the objective of advancing solutions for homeowners. I have given the stakeholders until the end of September to come back to me with credible solutions to the pyrite problem.

  Question No. 1081 answered with Question No. 1017.

Local Authority Charges Yield

 1082. Deputy Colm Keaveney Information on Colm Keaveney Zoom on Colm Keaveney asked the Minister for the Environment; Community and Local Government Information on Phil Hogan Zoom on Phil Hogan the total amount of commercial rates raised in 2011 in a townland (details supplied) in County Galway or within the most proximate and appropriate area division within which the town is located. [37965/12]

Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government (Deputy Phil Hogan): Information on Phil Hogan Zoom on Phil Hogan The information requested is not available in my Department, and may be sought from Galway County Council.

Register of Electors Administration

 1083. Deputy Paudie Coffey Information on Paudie Coffey Zoom on Paudie Coffey asked the Minister for the Environment; Community and Local Government Information on Phil Hogan Zoom on Phil Hogan the progress that has been made with the updating of the electoral register and linking it to PPS numbers; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [37990/12]

Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government (Deputy Phil Hogan): Information on Phil Hogan Zoom on Phil Hogan In law, the preparation of the Register of Electors is a matter for each local registration authority. It is their duty to ensure, as far as possible and with the cooperation of the public, the accuracy and comprehensiveness of the Register. This is done on an ongoing basis in accordance with the electoral acts. There is no provision for linking the electoral register to PPS numbers. The Programme for Government contains a commitment to establish an Electoral Commission to subsume functions of existing bodies and my Department. Consideration of this commitment would clearly require an assessment of matters relating to the electoral register including linking it to PPS numbers. I will make this assessment in the context of considering the necessary measures to establish an Electoral Commission.

Planning Issues

 1084. Deputy Finian McGrath Information on Finian McGrath Zoom on Finian McGrath asked the Minister for the Environment; Community and Local Government Information on Phil Hogan Zoom on Phil Hogan his views on a matter (details supplied). [38049/12]

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 in the Question. 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.

Environment Fund

 1085. Deputy Kevin Humphreys Information on Kevin Humphreys Zoom on Kevin Humphreys asked the Minister for the Environment; Community and Local Government Information on Phil Hogan Zoom on Phil Hogan if any consideration has been given to ending the ring-fencing of the Environment Fund or reducing the amount of the bag and landfill levies paid into the fund; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [38206/12]

Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government (Deputy Phil Hogan): Information on Phil Hogan Zoom on Phil Hogan The proceeds of the Environment Fund, which was established under the Waste Management (Amendment) Act 2001, can only be used for activities that are of benefit to the environment.   Section 74(9) of the Waste Management Act 1996 (as amended), specifies the purposes for which payments may be made from the Environment Fund. These include assistance in a range of areas such as:

- schemes to prevent/reduce waste ;

- waste recovery activities ;

- research & development into waste management ;

- production, distribution or sale of products deemed to be less harmful to the environment than other similar products;

- development of producer initiatives to prevent/reduce waste arising from their activities ;

- implementation of waste management plans ;

- enforcement of the provisions of any enactment relating to waste management, prevention of litter or protection of the environment ;

- partnership projects, that involve local authorities, to improve the quality of the environment for particular local communities ;

- promotion of awareness of the need to protect the environment, including national and regional campaigns

- promotion /support of education and training to assist achievement of campaign objectives ;

- resources (human or material) to enable education and training to be carried out ;

- initiatives undertaken by community groups and others for protection of the environment ;

- initiatives undertaken by international organisations and others for protection of the environment and/or sustainable development;

- such other purposes for protection of the environment as may be prescribed by the Minister in regulations.

  I have no plans to remove the ring fenced nature of the Environment Fund or to reduce the rate of either the Environmental Levy on Plastic Bags or the Landfill Levy. These levies are designed to encourage a shift away from environmentally unsustainable practices towards more environmentally friendly ones.

  Question No. 1086 answered with Question No. 1022.

Rental Accommodation Scheme Application Numbers

 1087. Deputy Kevin Humphreys Information on Kevin Humphreys Zoom on Kevin Humphreys asked the Minister for the Environment; Community and Local Government Information on Phil Hogan Zoom on Phil Hogan if he will provide in tabular form the total number of housing units in the rental accommodation scheme as of 1 September 2012; if he will further provide a breakdown of those total units by local authority area; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [38208/12]

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 Data on the number of households whose housing need is met under the Rental Accommodation Scheme (RAS) change constantly as new households in receipt of rent supplement transfer under the Scheme, and existing RAS households leave the Scheme. Information is collected by my Department on a monthly basis in relation to the number of households transferring from rent supplement under the various social housing options. Data on households leaving RAS, either through transfers to other forms of social housing support or through leaving the area etc, have been collected annually since 2008.

  The latest date for which figures on transfers from rent supplement are available is 31 July 2012. To end July housing authorities had transferred a total of 40,821 households from rent supplement. Of these, 23,900 were housed directly under RAS and a further 16,921 were accommodated in other forms of social housing support. The number of households leaving RAS, including those going to other forms of social housing, to end 2011 was 2,994. The following table sets out the details on a county basis combining the transfer figure with the numbers that have left RAS.

Local Authority  (Housing) No. households transferred directly to RAS to end July 2012 No. of households who left RAS to end 2011 Estimated No. of households in RAS (see Note below)
Carlow Co. Cl. 533 40 493
Cavan Co. Cl. 462 50 412
Clare Co. Cl. 513 62 451
Cork City Cl. 1,086 211 875
Cork County Cl. 1,364 198 1,166
Donegal Co. Cl. 649 25 624
Dublin City Cl. 2,609 184 2,425
Dublin South Co. Cl. 1,560 260 1,300
Dun/Rathdown Co.Cl. 643 89 554
Fingal Co. Cl. 1,147 48 1,099
Galway City Cl. 892 220 672
Galway Co. Cl. 595 62 533
Kerry Co. Cl. 872 154 718
Kildare Co. Cl. 579 76 503
Kilkenny Co. Cl. 763 87 676
Laois Co. Cl. 297 37 260
Leitrim Co. Cl. 135 9 126
Limerick City Cl. 799 71 728
Limerick Co. Cl. 529 88 441
Longford Co. Cl. 400 98 302
Louth Co. Cl. 323 69 254
Mayo Co. Cl. 1,069 178 891
Meath Co. Cl. 385 21 364
Monaghan Co. Cl. 325 27 298
Nth Tipperary Co. Cl. 522 114 408
Offaly Co. Cl. 326 51 275
Roscommon Co.Cl. 494 82 412
Sligo Co. Cl. 591 43 548
Sth Tipperary Co. Cl. 741 50 691
Waterford City Cl. 746 57 689
Waterford Co. Cl. 341 25 316
Westmeath Co. Cl. 454 99 355
Wexford Co. Cl. 687 61 626
Wicklow Co. Cl. 469 48 421
Totals 23,900 2,994 20,906
  Note: The net figure of 20,906 which represents the number of households in RAS is an estimate as figures for those leaving RAS in 2012 are not yet available.

Rental Accommodation Scheme Payments

 1088. Deputy Kevin Humphreys Information on Kevin Humphreys Zoom on Kevin Humphreys asked the Minister for the Environment; Community and Local Government Information on Phil Hogan Zoom on Phil Hogan if he will provide in tabular form by local authority area the total arrears accumulated by 1 September 2012 on housing units in the rental accommodation scheme; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [38209/12]

 1108. Deputy Kevin Humphreys Information on Kevin Humphreys Zoom on Kevin Humphreys asked the Minister for the Environment; Community and Local Government Information on Phil Hogan Zoom on Phil Hogan if he will provide in tabular form, by local authority area, the number of housing units in the rental accommodation scheme that are in arrears on 1 September 2012; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [38921/12]

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 propose to take Questions Nos. 1088 and 1108 together.

  Information is not available in my Department on the accumulated arrears from rental contributions under the Rental Accommodation Scheme to September 2012 or on the number of households in the scheme that are in arrears. The latest available information is in respect of the arrears arising in 2011 which is collected as part of the annual financial statement on RAS from each authority. This information is set out in the following table.

Local Authority Arrears in 2011
Carlow €50,404.32
Cavan €12,263.34
Clare €80,533.00
Cork City €29,468.00
Cork North €1,358.00
Cork South €15,611.00
Cork West €3,697.00
Donegal €4,811.79
Dublin City €741,228.00
Dun Laogh - Rathdown €50,003.88
Fingal €167,971.51
Galway City €219,844.00
Galway County €73,704.94
Kerry €38,987.23
Kildare €7,798.00
Kilkenny €2,948.00
Laois €14,881.00
Leitrim €2,548.32
Limerick City €31,860.00
Limerick County €13,122.00
Longford €15,203.50
Louth €19,022.57
Mayo €8,441.95
Meath €20,290.00
Monaghan €8,015.50
North Tipperary €1,880.00
Offaly €14,849.03
Roscommon €101,143.77
Sligo €27,529.53
South Dublin €251,601.66
South Tipperary €49,240.51
Waterford City €3,768.00
Waterford County €43,107.00
Westmeath no data
Wexford €58,160.15
Wicklow €14,264.89
Total €2,199,561.39

Control of Dogs

 1089. Deputy Kevin Humphreys Information on Kevin Humphreys Zoom on Kevin Humphreys asked the Minister for the Environment; Community and Local Government Information on Phil Hogan Zoom on Phil Hogan the number of lifetime dog licences purchased since the commencement of the scheme in January 2012; if he will provide a breakdown of the figures by local authority; the number of annual dog licences purchased in 2010, 2011 and to date in 2012; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [38213/12]

Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government (Deputy Phil Hogan): Information on Phil Hogan Zoom on Phil Hogan National Dog Control Statistics are compiled on an annual basis by the Local Authorities. The number of lifetime dog licences purchased since the commencement of the scheme in January 2012 will be compiled in tandem with the other 2012 statistics at the end of the year and will be published on the Department’s website as early as possible in 2013. The numbers of individual and general dog licences issued by each Local Authority for 2010 and 2011 are available on my Department’s website at www.environ.ie/en/LocalGovernment/DogControl.

  Question No. 1090 answered with Question No. 1006.

Rental Accommodation Scheme Application Numbers

 1091. Deputy Kevin Humphreys Information on Kevin Humphreys Zoom on Kevin Humphreys asked the Minister for the Environment; Community and Local Government Information on Phil Hogan Zoom on Phil Hogan his policy regarding accumulated arrears in housing units in the rental accommodation scheme; the enforcement action open to a specific local authority to collect those arrears or act against the tenant; if eviction notices can be served on persons in such a scheme; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [38280/12]

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 collection of rent and the management of rent arrears is a matter for the housing authority concerned in accordance with their general management and maintenance responsibilities. RAS involves a three way contractual relationship between landlord, tenant and the housing authority. The housing authority are responsible for payment of the rent to the landlord, and the landlord is contractually obliged to maintain the property in good condition and deal with any repair issues in a timely manner. The tenant also has a contract with the housing authority, whereby they agree to pay a rental contribution to the authority based on the differential rent scheme. In the event that the tenant does not make the rental contribution to the authority, under the terms of the three way agreement the authority may direct that the landlord serve notice to quit on the tenant. If the landlord fails to serve such a notice to quit then this may be a breach of the agreement between the authority and the landlord.


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