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 Header Item Written Answers Nos. 429-450
 Header Item Fisheries Protection
 Header Item State Agencies
 Header Item Environmental Schemes
 Header Item State Bodies Expenditure
 Header Item Alternative Energy Projects
 Header Item Hydraulic Fracturing Policy
 Header Item Public Sector Reform Review
 Header Item Tenant Purchase Scheme Applications
 Header Item Constituency Nomenclature
 Header Item Tax Code
 Header Item Household Charge Collection
 Header Item Local Authority Members' Remuneration
 Header Item Local Authority Housing Issues
 Header Item Building Regulations Compliance
 Header Item Local Authority Funding
 Header Item Household Charge Collection
 Header Item Departmental Expenditure
 Header Item Motor Tax Yield
 Header Item Regional Aid
 Header Item Deontais Leader
 Header Item Local Government Reform

Tuesday, 13 November 2012

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 782 No. 3

First Page Previous Page Page of 86 Next Page Last Page

Written Answers Nos. 429-450

Fisheries Protection

 429. Deputy Patrick O'Donovan Information on Patrick O'Donovan Zoom on Patrick O'Donovan asked the Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources Information on Pat Rabbitte Zoom on Pat Rabbitte the number of salmon that came through the fish counter on the River Feale between September and October of this year; and if he will make a statement on the matter.  [50157/12]

Minister of State at the Department of Communications, Energy and Natural Resources (Deputy Fergus O'Dowd): Information on Fergus O'Dowd Zoom on Fergus O'Dowd The total number of salmon passing the counter (upward) in the months September and October 2102 was 1,142. I have set out as follows for the Deputy’s information figures for the counter available to date in 2012 and also for the four years to 2011. Recommendations as regards the conservation limit for any individual river are based on an assessment of the last five years in order to protect the genetically unique stock in the River. The Independent Standing Scientific Committee for Salmon has recommended that the River Feale remains open for fishing for 2013. This recommendation is reflected in the draft Wild Salmon and Sea Trout Tagging Regulations, which are currently the subject of public consultation.

River Feale Fish Counter data 2012

Month Up Count Down Count Net Count (Up-Down)
January 26 0 26*
February 59 3 59*
March 198 26 198*
April 235 100 235*
May 367 2 367*
June 171 0 171
July 1059 15 1044
August 504 2 502
September 717 2 715
October 425 2 423
November No data available yet No data available yet No data available yet
December No data available yet No data available yet No data available yet
Total 3761 152 3740
‘*’ no subtraction of down count as these salmon are considered kelts (Jan-May).
R. Feale Counter 2008 2009 2010 2011 Average
Verified Counter 4,588 3,339 4,462 2,928 3,829

State Agencies

 430. Deputy Billy Kelleher Information on Billy Kelleher Zoom on Billy Kelleher asked the Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources Information on Pat Rabbitte Zoom on Pat Rabbitte if he will provide in tabular form the amount currently being spent on, or budgeted for, by State agencies under his remit for spending on the areas of communications, public relations, consultancy, advertising and human resources; and if he will make a statement on the matter.  [49648/12]

Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources (Deputy Pat Rabbitte): Information on Pat Rabbitte Zoom on Pat Rabbitte I would like to advise the Deputy that expenditure by State Agencies on communication, public relations, consultancy, advertising and human resources is an operational matter for the bodies in question.

Environmental Schemes

 431. Deputy Noel Harrington Information on Noel Harrington Zoom on Noel Harrington asked the Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources Information on Pat Rabbitte Zoom on Pat Rabbitte further to Parliamentary Question No. 146 of the 3 October 2012, the progress he has made on the restoration and re-instatement of Reendonegan Lake, Bantry, County Cork; the timetable for completion of the work; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [49663/12]

Minister of State at the Department of Communications, Energy and Natural Resources (Deputy Fergus O'Dowd): Information on Fergus O'Dowd Zoom on Fergus O'Dowd I draw the Deputy’s attention to my response to his question in the House on 3 October 2012, which he references. I informed the House that Inland Fisheries Ireland (IFI) had advised that options in respect of Reendonegan Lake are being reviewed. This will involve discussions with the National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS), amongst others, as the lake was previously an inlet of the sea.

In addition, following this consultation, any works proposed on the foreshore solution will require a licence from the appropriate Department.

In assessing the appropriate long term solution for Reendonegan, there is an imperative to ensure that it is appropriately engineered and takes into consideration issues such as access for works, access for landowners in the long term, use of the lake, costs involved and sources of funding. These processes and the consultation and licensing I have referred to cannot be prudently completed in a hasty manner and without very careful consideration. I do, however, appreciate the importance of the issue to the Deputy and I would be happy to have Inland Fisheries Ireland keep him up to date as the process develops.

State Bodies Expenditure

 432. Deputy Jack Wall Information on Jack Wall Zoom on Jack Wall asked the Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources Information on Pat Rabbitte Zoom on Pat Rabbitte his views on correspondence regarding Bord na Móna (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [49688/12]

Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources (Deputy Pat Rabbitte): Information on Pat Rabbitte Zoom on Pat Rabbitte The matter referred to by the Deputy in respect of Caragh & District Turbary Association is a day to day operational matter for Bord na Móna and not one in which I have a statutory function. However, I have asked the Board to communicate directly to the Deputy on this matter.

Alternative Energy Projects

 433. Deputy Robert Troy Information on Robert Troy Zoom on Robert Troy asked the Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources Information on Pat Rabbitte Zoom on Pat Rabbitte the level of communications he has held with his British counterpart regarding the memorandum of understanding on the exporting of wind energy to the UK; if he will confirm if he has met the two commercial companies seeking to erect these wind turbines; and, if so, how often and the outcome of such discussions.  [49754/12]

Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources (Deputy Pat Rabbitte): Information on Pat Rabbitte Zoom on Pat Rabbitte The 2009 Renewable Energy Directive (Directive 2009/28/EC) provides mechanisms whereby renewable electricity can be traded between countries so that renewable power produced in one country may be counted towards the legally binding renewable target in another. This can be done through a number of mechanisms including statistical transfer and joint projects.

I have met on several occasions over the past twelve months with the then UK Energy Minister Hendry and with Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change Ed Davey. The meetings covered a number of issues including the prospect for renewable electricity trading between the jurisdictions in the context of the framework provided by the Renewable Energy Directive.

Exploring renewable trade was already agreed at a high level at the 2011 June British Irish Council summit and had been progressed in the interim at the British Irish Council working group level.

In June this year at a meeting in London with Minister Hendry, both sides agreed to work towards concluding a Memorandum of Understanding around the end of the year which will be an important step in relation to the proposition of cross border renewable trade between the two jurisdictions. This was further progressed at my most recent meeting with Secretary of State Ed Davey on 20 September following the official launch of the East West Interconnector.

Increased interconnection between the two islands offers Irish developers the prospect of being able to access a much larger electricity market. The electricity market in GB is around ten times the scale of the electricity market in Ireland. In the short term there are opportunities for on and offshore wind and biomass projects, but in the medium to longer term as technologies mature and become commercially deployable, there will also be opportunities for wave and tidal developers.

There are currently a number of potential project developers that have expressed interest in renewable export. Several of these developers have met with me to indicate their interest in developing the business of renewable electricity exporters. These developers have also underlined to me the need to progress the bilateral discussions with the UK.

In developing the Memorandum of Understanding, officials from both sides are examining a range of issues around the electricity market, regulatory and technical grid areas to underpin the creation of cross jurisdictional renewable electricity trade. We are working to develop the terms of such an agreement in a way which ensures a mutually beneficial arrangement with the UK and to ensure tangible economic benefits for Ireland.

Hydraulic Fracturing Policy

 434. Deputy Tony McLoughlin Information on Tony McLoughlin Zoom on Tony McLoughlin asked the Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources Information on Pat Rabbitte Zoom on Pat Rabbitte if he has developed the terms of reference and the parameters for further research to be commissioned by the Environmental Protection Agency later this year on the issue of hydraulic fracturing here; if the terms of reference for this more extensive research is to be drawn up by a steering group; the organisations that will be represented on this group other than the EPA and his Department; the time frame for the publication of this report, and the further explorative activity that the companies licensed by his Department can undertake between now and the publication of this report. [50086/12]

Minister of State at the Department of Communications, Energy and Natural Resources (Deputy Fergus O'Dowd): Information on Fergus O'Dowd Zoom on Fergus O'Dowd The terms of reference for the second and more detailed Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) research are currently being drawn up by a steering group, which includes representatives from the EPA, Department of Environment, Community and Local Government, Department of Environment, Northern Ireland, Northern Ireland Environment Agency, Commission for Energy Regulation, An Bord Pleanála and my Department including the Office of the Geological Survey of Ireland. The objectives of this further research are to:

- establish if shale gas exploration and extraction involving the use of the fracking technique can be carried out in a manner that will not cause significant environmental pollution.

- identify all possible environmental risks associated with the fracking technique and to ascertain if these risks are manageable and,

- identify best practice with respect to environmental protection for the use of the hydraulic fracturing technique for the exploration and extraction of shale gas.

It is anticipated that following the engagement of the relevant experts, the study will take in excess of twelve months to complete, leading to a potential publication date in 2014.

In February 2011, onshore petroleum licensing options were awarded to Tamboran Resources PTY Ltd (over parts of counties Cavan, Leitrim and Sligo); Lough Allen Natural Gas Company Ltd (over parts of counties Cavan, Leitrim, Roscommon and Sligo) and Enegi Oil plc (over parts of County Clare). All three were granted for a two-year period commencing on 1st March 2011 and ending on 28th February 2013. These Licensing Options are preliminary authorisations and the agreed work programmes allow the companies assess the petroleum potential of the acreage largely based on studies of existing data. The only works authorised by my Department are the work programmes relating to these three Licensing Options.

For information, Licensing Options are not exploration authorisations and no applications have been made to date proposing the use of hydraulic fracturing in exploration drilling. As I previously stated the use of hydraulic fracturing in exploration drilling will not be authorised until there has been time to consider the second stage of the EPA research.

Public Sector Reform Review

 435. Deputy Seán Kyne Information on Seán Kyne Zoom on Seán Kyne asked the Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources Information on Pat Rabbitte Zoom on Pat Rabbitte if he will outline the opportunities that persons in lower grades of the public service have been afforded in contributing to the reforms of the public service as sought in the public service agreement; and if he will make a statement on the matter.  [50639/12]

Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources (Deputy Pat Rabbitte): Information on Pat Rabbitte Zoom on Pat Rabbitte My Department is fully committed to the consultation principles of the Public Service Agreement and encourages staff at all levels to be involved in the delivery of the Department’s Action Plan under the Agreement.

  The Department also established a number of working groups to oversee implementation of certain elements of the Department’s Action Plan which included staff from all grades and locations. Examples include; working groups on the introduction of an Attendance Management Policy, setting up a Skills Register and the assessment of options for greater integration between the Department’s offices in Dublin and Cavan.

  This consultation process assisted in the successful rollout of the Attendance Management Policy, the completion of the Skills Register and the reallocation of functions between the Dublin and Cavan offices.

  In addition, the reform agenda features regularly at meetings of Departmental Council and the Partnership Committee.

Input and cooperation from staff of all grades with the reform agenda is key to its success and my Department will continue to involve all staff in this process.

Tenant Purchase Scheme Applications

 436. 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 if there is currently any scope for local authorities to extend the deadline for the tenant purchase scheme in exceptional circumstances, such as those experienced by a person (details supplied) in County Donegal [50433/12]

 464. 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 if there is currently any scope for local authorities to extend the deadline for the tenant purchase scheme in exceptional circumstances, such as those experienced by a person (details supplied) in County Donegal; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [49997/12]

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. 436 and 464 together.

I have no plans to extend the deadline for the tenant purchase scheme. Under the current arrangements, applicants may submit an application up to 31 December 2012 to purchase their home and housing authorities will have until 31 December 2013 to finalise sales under the scheme. It is my intention to replace the tenant purchase scheme with a new scheme based on the incremental purchase model for tenants of existing local authority housing. Legislation is required to underpin the new model which it is intended to introduce as soon as possible.

Constituency Nomenclature

 437. Deputy Olivia Mitchell Information on Olivia Mitchell Zoom on Olivia Mitchell asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government Information on Phil Hogan Zoom on Phil Hogan if he will consider retaining the long-standing constituency name Dublin South as it has a resonance for its citizens which is completely lacking in the replacement name Dublin-Rathdown; and if he will make a statement on the matter.  [49408/12]

Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government (Deputy Phil Hogan): Information on Phil Hogan Zoom on Phil Hogan The Electoral (Amendment) (Dáil Constituencies) Bill 2012, published on 5 October 2012, proposes to give statutory effect to the recommendations in the Constituency Commission Report 2012. The Bill provides for a reduction to 158 in the total number of members of Dáil Éireann, for the revision of Dáil constituencies and for the number of members to be elected for such constituencies.

In publishing this Bill the Government has accepted in full the recommendations in the Constituency Commission report. This is consistent with established practice since the first independent constituency commission reported in 1980. The determination of Dáil constituencies is a matter for the Oireachtas to prescribe in legislation. I look forward to debating the Bill in the Oireachtas.

Tax Code

 438. Deputy Éamon Ó Cuív Information on Éamon Ó Cuív Zoom on Éamon Ó Cuív asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government Information on Phil Hogan Zoom on Phil Hogan the reason some guest houses and bed and breakfasts are exempt from commercial rates; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [49426/12]

Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government (Deputy Phil Hogan): Information on Phil Hogan Zoom on Phil Hogan Local authorities are under a statutory obligation to levy rates on any property used for commercial purposes in accordance with the details entered in the valuation lists prepared by the independent Commissioner of Valuation under the Valuation Act 2001.

That Act provides at section 3 that property used to provide lodgings is generally considered domestic property and therefore not subject to commercial rates. However, the Act further provides that accommodation provided in premises registered under the Tourist Traffic Acts 1939 to 1998 does not constitute “lodgings”. Registered properties are therefore liable for commercial rates.

The Valuation Act 2001 comes under the aegis of the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform.

Household Charge Collection

 439. Deputy Seán Ó Fearghaíl Information on Seán Ó Fearghaíl Zoom on Seán Ó Fearghaíl asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government Information on Phil Hogan Zoom on Phil Hogan if he will consider the relevant points made in correspondence (details supplied) regarding the household charge; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [49540/12]

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. Liability for the Charge is not contingent on receipt of any form of invoice detailing the services provided to, or received by, a liable person.

The Local Government Management Agency is administering the Household Charge system on a shared service/agency basis for all county and city councils. There was no existing comprehensive database of residential properties and their owners within the State prior to the Household Charge being introduced. The collection of the Household Charge via self-assessment declaration provides for the collation of such information in relation to residential property and will be an essential component for implementing a full local property tax. Local authorities are continuing to identify undeclared properties through appropriate data sharing provisions, and significant efforts have been expended in matching self-declared information with other datasets and in refining the resulting data.

The Agency and local authorities will continue their work in maximising compliance with a charge which funds essential local services for communities. Non-compliance by liable owners means reduced resources for local authorities to use to support communities and places a greater burden on those owners who do pay the Charge.

It is an offence to fail to declare a liability and also to fail to pay the Charge.

Local Authority Members' Remuneration

 440. Deputy Barry Cowen Information on Barry Cowen Zoom on Barry Cowen 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 annual representational payment under the 2001 Local Government Act paid to town councillors in 2011 broken down by town council. [49549/12]

 441. Deputy Barry Cowen Information on Barry Cowen Zoom on Barry Cowen 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 expenses paid out to town councillors in 2011 broken down by town council. [49550/12]

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. 440 and 441 together.

  It is a matter for each local authority to pay the annual representational payment s and my Department does not have details of payments by town councils on the basis of rates of payments approved by me.

  The rates of representational payments for town councillors are as follows: €8,362 for borough councils, and the town councils of Athlone, Bray, Dundalk, Ennis and Tralee; €4,181 for other rating town councils together with the non-rating town councils of Balbriggan, Droichead Nua, Greystones, Leixlip, Mullingar, Portlaoise and Shannon; and €2,282 for all other non-rating town councils.

  An Annual Expenses Allowance designed to defray, in a structured way, reasonable expenses incurred in attending meetings associated with council business is also payable at the following rates: €3,054 for borough councils, and the town councils of Athlone, Bray, Dundalk, Ennis and Tralee; €2,036 for other rating town councils together with the non-rating town councils of Balbriggan, Droichead Nua, Greystones, Leixlip, Mullingar, Portlaoise and Shannon; and €1,018 for all other non-rating town councils.

  The Deputy may wish to consult the public registers, provided for in section 142(4)(g) of the Local Government Act 2001, maintained by the relevant local authorities by virtue of article 8 of the Local Government (Representational Payment for Members) Regulations 2001 in order to determine the amounts paid by individual town councils.

  The Action Programme for Effective Local Government – Putting People First, provides for a review of the structures for and levels of all payments to councillors, to reduce overall costs and levels of payments to individuals, while having regard to the reformed sub-county structure and regional governance, and the need to ensure sufficient incentive for high-quality representation of the community.

Local Authority Housing Issues

 442. Deputy Catherine Murphy Information on Catherine Murphy Zoom on Catherine Murphy asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government Information on Phil Hogan Zoom on Phil Hogan the estimated number of local authority houses currently rented; his plans to exempt this category from the proposed property tax; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [49571/12]

Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government (Deputy Phil Hogan): Information on Phil Hogan Zoom on Phil Hogan The number of local authority houses let as of 31 December 2011 was 125,958, which is the most recent data available. Further comprehensive statistical information on housing is available on my Department’s website at www.environ.ie.

  An independently-chaired Inter-Departmental Expert Group was established to consider the structures and modalities for an equitable local property tax to replace the household charge.

  The Group submitted its report to me and it would not be appropriate to comment at this point, pending Government’s consideration of the report and the associated issues. It will then be a matter for Government to decide on the exact details of implementation, including considerations related to exemptions and waivers, taking into account the modalities involved.

  The Government has decided that the Local Property Tax will be collected and administered by the Revenue Commissioners.

Building Regulations Compliance

 443. Deputy Mattie McGrath Information on Mattie McGrath Zoom on Mattie McGrath asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government Information on Phil Hogan Zoom on Phil Hogan the consideration he has given to the views and concerns of the Chartered Institute of Architectural Technologists in relation to the Building Control (Amendment) Regulations 2012; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [49599/12]

Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government (Deputy Phil Hogan): Information on Phil Hogan Zoom on Phil Hogan Following a recent public consultation process I am currently finalising the Building Control (Amendment) Regulations 2012. The new regulations will provide, among other things, for the introduction of mandatory certificates of compliance by builders and designers of buildings confirming that the statutory requirements of the Building Regulations have been met in relation to the building concerned. In addition a building owner will be required to assign a registered professional to inspect the work during construction and also to certify that the completed building is in compliance with the requirements of the Building Regulations.

The roles of lead designer and assigned certifier may only be undertaken by competent persons who are included on the registers of Architects or Building Surveyors as provided for under the Building Control Act 2007 or who are Chartered Engineers. Depending on their own personal circumstances, it may be open to members of the Chartered Institute of Architectural Technologists (CIAT) to seek inclusion on one or other of the registers of Architects or Building Surveyors.

In keeping with the standard procedures in relation to these matters, I have asked my Department to continue to engage closely with key stakeholders to ensure that the new regulations when finalised are clearly understood and can work well for all concerned. My Department has had discussions with the executive of CIAT in this regard in recent months and is willing to meet further with the Institute if required.

Local Authority Funding

 444. Deputy Charlie McConalogue Information on Charlie McConalogue Zoom on Charlie McConalogue asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government Information on Phil Hogan Zoom on Phil Hogan when a reply will issue in respect of a person (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [49603/12]

Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government (Deputy Phil Hogan): Information on Phil Hogan Zoom on Phil Hogan I understand that the person referred to in the question has raised the issue of whether it is fair to withhold General Purpose Grant funding to local authorities on the basis of poor Household Charge compliance rates.

The two principal sources of revenue for the Local Government Fund are the proceeds of motor tax and the income from the Household Charge. The Local Government (Household Charge) Act 2011 provides that income from the Household Charge is to be paid into the Local Government Fund. The proceeds from the Household Charge are being re-distributed on an equalised basis to local authorities within the context of the annual allocations of General Purpose Grants.

General Purpose Grants contribute towards meeting the reasonable cost to local authorities of providing services to their customers. Some €651m in General Purpose Grants had been allocated to local authorities for 2012. It has been necessary for me to reduce General Purpose Grant funding to local authorities in the third quarter of this year in light of the level of compliance with the household charge.

It is estimated that there are some 1.6 million residential properties potentially liable for the Household Charge. As such, if collected in full, the Household Charge has the potential to raise €160 million annually. As of 9 November 2012 some €109m had been collected nationally. A total of €15,695,292 was withheld from the Quarter 3 General Purpose Grant payment. For county and city councils, this represented a reduction of between 1% and 3% of the total General Purpose Grant allocation for 2012.

I am keeping the income generated from the Household Charge under constant review and those local authorities that achieve a collection rate of 65% or above will suffer no further reduction in their General Purpose Grant allocation for 2012. However, it is up to individual local authorities to address any potential funding shortfalls arising from non-compliance with the legislation and to pursue those who may have a liability and initiate court proceedings, where it is considered appropriate. Non-compliance by liable owners does, however, result in reduced resources for local authorities to support communities and this places a greater burden on those owners who do pay the Charge.

I am confident that the level of General Purpose Grants, together with other Government grants and subsidies and income raised from local sources, is appropriate to meet the costs of providing a reasonable level of local authority services to communities.

Household Charge Collection

 445. 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 the position regarding the properties registered for the household charge to date; the number that have been registered by persons who registered two or more properties and the number of persons that have registered two or more properties for the household charge. [49617/12]

Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government (Deputy Phil Hogan): Information on Phil Hogan Zoom on Phil Hogan The Local Government Management Agency is administering the Household Charge system on a shared service/agency basis for all county and city councils. I understand, from data provided by the Agency, that as of 9 November 2012 the number of registrations, including waiver registrations, for the Household Charge is 1,094,751.

As the Household Charge system records one owner entry per property, which may in some cases be joint names, definitive information is not available concerning the number of properties which have been registered to multiple accounts.

I understand, again from data provided by the Agency, that as of 9 November 2012 the number of accounts to which more than one unit has been registered for the Household Charge is 781. However, as the system is based on a self-declaration format it permits a person to set up several accounts, each in respect of separate properties or sets of properties, and therefore such figures should be treated with appropriate caution.

Departmental Expenditure

 446. Deputy Billy Kelleher Information on Billy Kelleher Zoom on Billy Kelleher 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 amount currently being spent on, or budgeted for by State agencies under his remit for spending, on the areas of communication, public relations, consultancy, advertising and human resources; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [49651/12]

Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government (Deputy Phil Hogan): Information on Phil Hogan Zoom on Phil Hogan Information on the projected expenditure for Exchequer funded agencies under the aegis of my Department is published in the Revised Estimates for Public Services 2012.  The summary table of Exchequer expenditure of non-commercial State agencies shows the provisional outturn for 2011 and the estimated expenditure for 2012.

A detailed breakdown of expenditure by each Agency is contained in their respective annual reports, the latest versions of which are available in the library of the Houses of the Oireachtas.

Motor Tax Yield

 447. Deputy Barry Cowen Information on Barry Cowen Zoom on Barry Cowen 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 number of motorists paying road tax to each local authority in 2011 and to date in 2012. [49664/12]

Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government (Deputy Phil Hogan): Information on Phil Hogan Zoom on Phil Hogan The table sets out, by licensing authority, the number of vehicles under current vehicle licence at 31 December 2011 and 31 October 2012. Figures for the online motor tax system, which issues vehicle licences on a nationwide basis and which now accounts for just under half of all vehicle licences issued, are set out separately at the end of the table.

Licensing Authority
No of vehicles under current licence at

31st December 2011
No of vehicles under current licence at

31st October 2012
County Councils    
Carlow
23,309
21,691
Cavan
24,615
22,673
     
Clare
43,242
38,820
     
Cork
152,727
139,313
     
Donegal
62,860
58,843
     
Galway
78,440
73,409
     
Kerry
47,157
43,300
     
Kildare
45,518
42,162
     
Kilkenny
32,673
30,696
     
Laois
26,232
24,547
     
Leitrim
12,207
11,328
     
Limerick
47,095
44,774
     
Longford
14,967
13,984
     
Louth
34,993
32,822
     
Mayo
48,839
45,242
     
Meath
44,362
40,711
     
Monaghan
24,073
22,327
     
Offaly
25,859
24,480
     
Roscommon
26,244
24,744
     
Sligo
25,292
23,370
     
North Tipperary
25,153
22,345
     
South Tipperary
35,563
32,169
     
Waterford
22,362
20,356
     
Westmeath
31,868
30,498
     
Wexford
50,051
46,625
     
Wicklow
37,286
33,287
     
     
     
City Councils    
Dublin*
241,030
219,537
Limerick
16,036
14,453
     
Waterford
14,020
13,413
     
     
     
Motor Tax Online
1,111,083
1,187,757
     
TOTAL
2,425,156
2,399,676
*On behalf of the four Dublin Authorities

Regional Aid

 448. D'fhiafraigh Deputy Éamon Ó Cuív Information on Éamon Ó Cuív Zoom on Éamon Ó Cuív den Aire Comhshaoil, Pobail agus Rialtais Áitiúil Information on Phil Hogan Zoom on Phil Hogan cén uair a íocfar deontas Leader le grúpa (sonraí tugtha) atá ag fanacht le híocaíocht le bliain, údar na moille leis an deontas seo a íoc; agus an ndéanfaidh sé ráiteas ina thaobh. [49689/12]

Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government (Deputy Phil Hogan): Information on Phil Hogan Zoom on Phil Hogan Rinneadh Meitheal Forbartha na Gaeltachta (MFG), an grúpa a bhí fostaithe ag mo Roinnse le hAiseanna 3 & 4 (LEADER) den Chlár um Fhorbairt Tuaithe (RDP) i gceantair Ghaeltachta, a leachtú an 7 Meán Fómhair 2011. Tá dul chun cinn á dhéanamh ar bhonn leanúnach maidir leis an bpróiseas lena fhoirceannadh ó thaobh an dlí.

Tá Grúpaí Gnímh Áitiúla i gceantair chóngaracha tíreolaíochta fostaithe le córas eatramhach a chur i bhfeidhm chun íocaíocht deontas le tionscadail a bhí ag céim tosaigh forbartha a éascú. Tá go leor de na comhaid tionscadail seo anois seolta chuig na Grúpaí Gnímh Áitiúla iomchuí atá ag déanamh teagmhála leis na tionscnóirí go díreach chun íocaíocht a éascú nuair is cuí. Tá athbhreithniú iomlán le déanamh ag na Grúpaí Gnímh Áitiúla ar chomhaid tionscadail mar chuid den phróiseas sin agus d’fhéadfadh go nglacfadh sin roinnt ama.

Tá roinnt saincheisteanna tugtha ar aird ag Cuideachta Forbairt Áitiúil Dhún na nGall, an cuideachta atá anois ag feidhmiú na gcomhad a bhí ag MFG roimhe seo i nDún na nGall, maidir le cáipéisíocht i roinnt de na comhaid atá sannta don Ghrúpa, lena n-áirítear GAE000188, an comhad dá dtagraítear sa cheist. Tá mo Roinnse ag obair i gcomhar le Cuideachta Forbairt Áitiúil Dhún na nGall chun dul i ngleic leis na saincheisteanna a tugadh faoi deara chomh luath agus is féidir le súil is seachadadh éifeachtach ar mhaoiniú RDP a chinntiú nuair is iomchuí.

Deontais Leader

 449. D'fhiafraigh Deputy Éamon Ó Cuív Information on Éamon Ó Cuív Zoom on Éamon Ó Cuív den Aire Comhshaoil, Pobail agus Rialtais Áitiúil Information on Phil Hogan Zoom on Phil Hogan cén uair a thosnófar ar dheontais Leader a cheadú sna ceantair éagsúla a bhí faoi Mheitheal Forbartha na Gaeltachta cheana, údar na moille, cén uair a íocfar deontais a bhí ceadaithe nuair a leachtaíodh MFG agus nach bhfuil íoctha fós, cén t-údar atá leis an moill sin; agus an ndéanfaidh sé ráiteas ina thaobh. [49690/12]

Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government (Deputy Phil Hogan): Information on Phil Hogan Zoom on Phil Hogan Rinneadh Meitheal Forbartha na Gaeltachta (MFG), an grúpa a bhí fostaithe ag mo Roinnse le hAiseanna 3 & 4 (LEADER) den Chlár um Fhorbairt Tuaithe (RDP) i gceantair Ghaeltachta, a leachtú an 7 Meán Fómhair 2011. Tá dul chun cinn á dhéanamh ar bhonn leanúnach maidir leis an bpróiseas lena fhoirceannadh ó thaobh an dlí.

Tá Grúpaí Gnímh Áitiúla i gceantair chóngaracha tíreolaíochta fostaithe le córas eatramhach a chur i bhfeidhm chun íocaíocht deontas le tionscadail a bhí ag céim tosaigh forbartha a éascú. Tá go leor de na comhaid tionscadail seo anois seolta chuig na Grúpaí Gnímh Áitiúla iomchuí atá ag déanamh teagmhála leis na tionscnóirí go díreach chun íocaíocht a éascú nuair is cuí. Tá athbhreithniú iomlán le déanamh ag na Grúpaí Gnímh Áitiúla ar chomhaid tionscadail mar chuid den phróiseas sin agus d’fhéadfadh go nglacfadh sin roinnt ama. Tuigimse, áfach, go bhfuil an próiseas seo go maith chun cinn lena chur ar chumas na nGrúpaí Gnímh Áitiúla éilimh incháilithe ó thionscnóirí tionscadail a phróiseáil le deontais a íoc leo.

I gcomhthéacs sheachadadh Aiseanna 3 & 4 (LEADER) den RDP i gceantair Ghaeltachta ar feadh an chuid eile de thréimhse an chláir, tá réiteach fadtéarmach socraithe i ndáil le ceantair Ghaeltachta Chontae na Gaillimhe, Dhún na nGall, Chiarraí, Chorcaí, Phort Láirge agus na Mí agus tá Grúpaí Áitiúla Gnímh ag obair cheana féin le pobail ar an talamh chun seachadadh cistí RDP a éascú.

Cé go bhfuil córas i bhfeidhm chun aghaidh a thabhairt ar thiomantais atá fós gan íoc i gCo. Mhaigh Eo agus i gceantair Ghaeltachta Iardheisceart Mhaigh Eo tá tuilleadh oibre fós de dhíth chun soláthar a éascú amach anseo sna ceantair eile i gCo. Mhaigh Eo; shamhlóinn go mbeadh réiteach ar sin go luath.

Local Government Reform

 450. Deputy Jack Wall Information on Jack Wall Zoom on Jack Wall asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government Information on Phil Hogan Zoom on Phil Hogan his views on correspondence regarding town councils (details supplied); if he will meet with the group to discuss their concerns; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [49693/12]

Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government (Deputy Phil Hogan): Information on Phil Hogan Zoom on Phil Hogan I can confirm that I have met with the organisation referred to in the Question in the context of my local government reform proposals. My Department also met with this group a short time after the publication of Putting People First, which provides for a more central role for local government in the oversight and planning of local and community development programming, in line with the recommendations made by the steering Group on alignment between local government and local development. However, Putting People First also recognises the importance of retaining the bottom-up approach, which characterises our local development model and focuses on targeting those most in need and facilitating meaningful community participation. I am satisfied that while the recommendations concerned will be challenging for all sectors, they will ultimately achieve the objective of improving the efficiency and effectiveness of services for citizens and communities.


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