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 Header Item Written Answers Nos. 560-584
 Header Item Noise Pollution Legislation
 Header Item Private Residential Tenancies Board Enforcement
 Header Item Wastewater Treatment
 Header Item Proposed Legislation
 Header Item Flood Risk Assessments
 Header Item Rural Development Programme Funding
 Header Item Local and Community Development Programme Planning
 Header Item Water Services Provision
 Header Item Government-Church Dialogue
 Header Item Housing Assistance Payments Implementation
 Header Item Building Energy Rating Compliance
 Header Item Electromagnetic Fields Studies
 Header Item Traveller Accommodation
 Header Item Priory Hall Development
 Header Item Community Development Projects
 Header Item Environmental Issues
 Header Item Fire Safety
 Header Item Departmental Expenditure
 Header Item Local Government Reform
 Header Item Pyrite Remediation Programme
 Header Item Water Services Provision
 Header Item Household Charge Collection

Tuesday, 5 February 2013

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 791 No. 1

First Page Previous Page Page of 84 Next Page Last Page

Written Answers Nos. 560-584

Noise Pollution Legislation

 560. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan Information on Thomas P. Broughan Zoom on Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government Information on Phil Hogan Zoom on Phil Hogan when the noise pollution Bill will be introduced to Dáil Éireann; the estimated timeframe for implementing the new noise regulations; and if he will make a statement on the matter.  [5223/13]

: Information on Phil Hogan Zoom on Phil Hogan The Programme for Government includes a commitment to take further steps to address noise pollution, inter alia , through the introduction of fixed payment notices (also known as on-the-spot fines) and provision for mediation procedures between neighbours. The development of new noise legislation by my Department will be considered in the context of this commitment; however, as indicated in the Government Legislation Programme published on 15 January 2013, it is not possible at this time to indicate when the legislation will be published, having regard to other priorities in the area concerned and the broader range of legislative priorities to be progressed across my Department’s remit.

  Currently, a person experiencing noise nuisance may contact their local authority, which may initiate proceedings on grounds of noise nuisance under the Environmental Protection Agency Act 1992. This Act also provides for any person, or group of persons, to seek an order in the District Court to have noise giving reasonable cause for annoyance abated. The procedures involved have been simplified to allow action to be taken without legal representation. A public information leaflet, A Guide to the Noise Regulations, outlining the legal avenues available to persons experiencing noise nuisance, is available on my Department’s website www.environ.ie.

Private Residential Tenancies Board Enforcement

 561. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan Information on Thomas P. Broughan Zoom on Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government Information on Phil Hogan Zoom on Phil Hogan the number of cases that have been taken by the Private Residential Tenancies Board against landlords for breaches of their regulations in 2010, 2011, 2012 and to date in 2013; the number of and the percentage of these cases in which breaches were found to have taken place; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [5224/13]

Minister of State at the Department of the Environment, Community and Local Government (Deputy Jan O'Sullivan): Information on Jan O'Sullivan Zoom on Jan O'Sullivan I have no function in the operational matters of the Private Residential Tenancies Board (PRTB), an independent statutory body established on 1 September 2004 under the Residential Tenancies Act 2004. The PRTB’s annual reports are available on its website www.prtb.ie.and the reports include details on enforcement figures. The most recently published report relates to 2010; the 2011 report will be available shortly.

  Question No. 562 answered with Question No. 556.

Wastewater Treatment

 563. Deputy Michael McGrath Information on Michael McGrath Zoom on Michael McGrath asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government Information on Phil Hogan Zoom on Phil Hogan if the installers of wastewater treatment plants for residential properties have any legal obligation to ensure that the system functions as intended; his plans to introduce legislation in this area; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [5300/13]

Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government (Deputy Phil Hogan): Information on Phil Hogan Zoom on Phil Hogan The design and installation of wastewater treatment systems for single houses is addressed in the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Code of Practice in respect of Wastewater Treatment and Disposal Systems Serving Single Houses (2009). On foot of a comprehensive review and public consultation, Part H (Drainage and Wastewater Disposal) of the Building Regulations and its accompanying Technical Guidance Document H (TGD H 2010) were amended in the latter half of 2010 to reflect the relevant parts of the EPA’s Code of Practice.

In relation to the use of septic tanks in particular, TGD H 2010 states that “Septic Tanks must conform to I.S. EN 12566 Part 1 or 4 including their national annexes and comply with the EPA Code of Practice - Section 7.” T GD H 2010 further stipulates that the design and commissioning of wastewater treatment systems should be carried out and/or supervised by a suitably qualified person and that the owner of the building should be provided with sufficient, clear and comprehensive information on any continuing maintenance required to facilitate the effective operation of the system in order to protect human health and the environment. I consider that the legal requirements of Part H of the Building Regulations as amended in 2010, including the requirement that wastewater treatment systems be designed and commissioned by a suitably qualified person, is sufficient to ensure appropriate protection in this matter and I have no further plans for legislation or regulations at this point.

Proposed Legislation

 564. Deputy Derek Nolan Information on Derek Nolan Zoom on Derek Nolan asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government Information on Phil Hogan Zoom on Phil Hogan if the Residential Tenancies (Amendment) (No. 2) Bill 2012 will make it illegal for a tenant to withhold rent while in dispute with a landlord; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [5311/13]

Minister of State at the Department of the Environment, Community and Local Government (Deputy Jan O'Sullivan): Information on Jan O'Sullivan Zoom on Jan O'Sullivan The Residential Tenancies Act 2004 regulates the tenant-landlord relationship in the private rented residential sector. It sets out the rights and responsibilities of landlords and tenants in the sector including, inter alia, the obligation on a tenant to pay to the landlord, or his or her authorised agent, the rent provided for under the tenancy.

  Notwithstanding the legal position in this area , the non-payment of rent during a dispute is an issue of concern in the sector. Accordingly, I intend to address this matter in the context of the Residential Tenancies (Amendment) (No.2) Bill 2012 which is currently before the Oireachtas.

Flood Risk Assessments

 565. Deputy David Stanton Information on David Stanton Zoom on David Stanton asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government Information on Phil Hogan Zoom on Phil Hogan if his attention has been drawn to any studies and surveys carried out in County Cork in 2012 by officials from his Department or bodies, such as local authorities, under the aegis of his Department into the risk of river flooding and sea incursions in estuaries and other low lying areas; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [5317/13]

Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government (Deputy Phil Hogan): Information on Phil Hogan Zoom on Phil Hogan No studies or surveys in relation to flooding matters were carried out by my Department in County Cork in 2012. However, I am aware that Cork County Council, in conjunction with the Office of Public Works, is involved in a number of projects including flood risk assessment and management studies, flood relief schemes and flood mitigation works. Details of these projects are available from the local authority. While the Environmental Protection Agency did not carry out any studies or surveys of the type in question in Cork during this period, they have recorded flow measurements at hydrometric stations during flood events.

The Office of Public Works is the lead agency for flood risk management in Ireland and coordinates the activities of Government Departments, local authorities and other bodies in managing the implementation of the national flood risk management policy.

Rural Development Programme Funding

 566. Deputy Paul J. Connaughton Information on Paul Connaughton Zoom on Paul Connaughton asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government Information on Phil Hogan Zoom on Phil Hogan when Leader groups will receive clarity on the budgets available to them under the various strands in 2013 as many community groups are experiencing delays in terms of grant applications as a result of this delay; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [5337/13]

Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government (Deputy Phil Hogan): Information on Phil Hogan Zoom on Phil Hogan In late 2011 the European Commission approved a change in co-funding rates for Rural Development Programmes (RDP) for countries that were part of the Financial Stabilisation Mechanism. This resulted in an increase in the EU co-financing rate from 55% to 85% for Ireland under Axes 3 and 4 elements of the RDP which came into effect on 1 January 2012.

The change involves an increase in the co-financing rate to 85% for 2012 and 2013, without a concomitant increase in the amount of funding to be provided by the EU. This resulted in a decrease in the overall funding available to the programme from an original €427 million to an estimated €314 million (€252 million of which is estimated to be the project allocation) and also a readjustment of the levels of funding available under each of the RDP measures.

The new co-financing rate applies to expenditure incurred in 2012 and 2013 only and the estimated programme complement of €314 million has been calculated on that basis. From 1 of January 2014 the co-financing rate will revert to 55% rate for any remaining unspent funding, which will necessitate a further revision of the programme complement at that time. On the basis of extrapolations from the annual levels of expenditure to date it is estimated that the final programme complement will be approximately €370 million.

In this context my Department is currently reviewing the levels of commitment and expenditure under each of the various measures of the RDP fully to assess the level of funding that remains for the various measures. This review will be completed by the end of February, and it has required Local Development Companies to suspend their board approvals process for a short time only. This is necessary to ensure that each measure under the programme has the funding required to address eligible requests received by rural communities all over Ireland. In this context this exercise is critical and it will be completed in the shortest possible timeframe.

Local and Community Development Programme Planning

 567. Deputy Damien English Information on Damien English Zoom on Damien English asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government Information on Phil Hogan Zoom on Phil Hogan if he will provide details of all funding programmes in his Department that community, voluntary and sporting organisations may apply to for funding; if he will provide a brief overview of each programme; the opening and closing dates of each programme; the minimum and maximum amounts of funding that may be applied for; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [5382/13]

Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government (Deputy Phil Hogan): Information on Phil Hogan Zoom on Phil Hogan My Department provides funding to the community and voluntary sector through its many community, housing and environment programmes and initiatives.

  The range of programmes and initiatives to support communities includes the Local and Community Development Programme (LCDP), the Rural Development Programme 2007-2013 (RDP), the Seniors Alert Scheme, RAPID  (Revitalising Areas by Planning, Investment and Development) Programme, the Scheme to Support National Organisations in the Community and Voluntary Sector and the Forum on Philanthropy and Fundraising.  The LCDP tackles poverty and social exclusion in disadvantaged communities. It is a key tool of Government in providing supports for the ‘harder to reach’ in the most disadvantaged areas in society.

  The Government’s commitment to enabling rural communities to become self sufficient has been reaffirmed this year through the increased funding it has provided to Axes 3 & 4 (LEADER Axes) of the RDP. The funding available to the RDP has increased from €96m in 2012 to €105m for 2013. The LEADER approach ensures that communities are involved and have a say in their own development choices. In the vast majority of projects, the communities themselves apply for the funding under the Programme.

  My Department also implements a Scheme to Support National Organisations in the Community and Voluntary Sector. This Scheme provides multi-annual funding to national organisations towards core costs associated with the provision of services. Priority is given under this scheme to supporting national organisations which provide ‘coalface’ services to disadvantaged target groups. Although this funding is for national organisations, these bodies work on the ground in local communities, for example Barnardos and the Simon Communities of Ireland.

Funding is also provided to various community and voluntary sector organisations for the purpose of promoting environmental awareness and participation in environmental activities. The LA21 Environmental Partnership Fund is designed to assist small scale, local, non-profit environmental projects aimed at increasing environmental awareness and developing sustainable communities.  Funding is provided to Environmental NGOs, directly and via the Irish Environmental Network, to assist their participation in environmental activities.  Funding is also provided to An Taisce to run the Green Schools Programme.

  Under my Department’s Capital Assistance Scheme (CAS), funding of up to 100% of the approved cost is provided to approved voluntary housing bodies for the provision of accommodation for older people, people with an intellectual, physical or mental health disability, the homeless, returning emigrants and victims of domestic violence. The administration of the scheme, including the detailed appraisal of new projects and the certification that proposals comply with the terms and conditions of the scheme, is the responsibility of the relevant housing authority. Funding is also allocated to housing authorities on an annual basis under the Social Housing Investment Programme and includes a provision to meet existing commitments for projects that are underway under CAS.

  I believe that all these initiatives and programmes combined will continue to enable communities to identify and address their own social and economic needs and allow them to work together to create vibrant and strong communities in Ireland. Compilation of the further detailed information requested in regard to terms and conditions attaching to all the many community programmes and schemes under my Department would involve an inordinate amount of staff time and cost which would not be warranted. If the Deputy wishes to pursue the details of any particular scheme, I or my Department will provide the requested information as quickly as possible. Further details of all of the Department's programmes and schemes can be found at www.environ.ie.

Water Services Provision

 568. Deputy Simon Harris Information on Simon Harris Zoom on Simon Harris asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government Information on Phil Hogan Zoom on Phil Hogan if there are any water infrastructure plans in place which would include the upgrade of the water supply pipes to County Wicklow; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [5403/13]

Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government (Deputy Phil Hogan): Information on Phil Hogan Zoom on Phil Hogan My Department’s multi-annual Water Services Investment Programme 2010-2013 provides for the commencement of contracts nationwide with a value of over €800m in relation to water supply infrastructure. This includes contracts to address deficiencies in the quality of supply, to improve the overall capacity of the system and an accelerated programme of mains rehabilitation. The Programme also provides for the advancement of a further range of schemes through planning, for progression to construction in future investment cycles.

  A copy of the Programme, which sets out, inter alia, the range of schemes to be advanced in County Wicklow over the programme period, is available in the Oireachtas Library.

Government-Church Dialogue

 569. Deputy Richard Boyd Barrett Information on Richard Boyd Barrett Zoom on Richard Boyd Barrett asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government Information on Phil Hogan Zoom on Phil Hogan if he has met voluntary and community organisations recently; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [54228/12]

Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government (Deputy Phil Hogan): Information on Phil Hogan Zoom on Phil Hogan My Department has a broad remit in relation to the Community and Voluntary Sector and therefore regular meetings are held with a variety of voluntary and community organisations and their representative bodies, for example in relation to housing policy, the environment, or local and community development issues.   

  I have had meetings in recent weeks with Social Justice Ireland and the Irish Local Development Network at which a broad range of relevant issues were discussed.

  Question No. 570 answered with Question No. 550.

Housing Assistance Payments Implementation

 571. Deputy Aengus Ó Snodaigh Information on Aengus Ó Snodaigh Zoom on Aengus Ó Snodaigh asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government Information on Phil Hogan Zoom on Phil Hogan when he intends to introduce the housing assistance payment; if he will provide greater detail; and if he will distinguish the payment from the current rent supplement. [4070/13]

Minister of State at the Department of the Environment, Community and Local Government (Deputy Jan O'Sullivan): Information on Jan O'Sullivan Zoom on Jan O'Sullivan In March 2012 the Government approved in principle the transfer of responsibility for recipients of rent supplement with an established long-term housing need from the Department of Social Protection (DSP) to local (housing) authorities. The new service would be provided using a new Housing Assistance Payment [HAP]. It is envisaged that, unlike rent supplement, HAP would be paid on the tenants’ behalf directly to the landlord within a stronger regulatory framework, with rental contribution from tenants set by reference to the differential rent for the local authority area.

Subject to the necessary housing and social welfare legislative provisions being in place, including in regard to facilitating deduction of rents at source from welfare payments, it is intended that the scheme will be piloted by a number of housing authorities before being implemented generally in 2014.

Building Energy Rating Compliance

 572. Deputy John Halligan Information on John Halligan Zoom on John Halligan asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government Information on Phil Hogan Zoom on Phil Hogan the way he intends to ensure compliance with the legal requirement that all existing buildings let or sold after 1 January 09 have to have a BER rating; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [4599/13]

Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government (Deputy Phil Hogan): Information on Phil Hogan Zoom on Phil Hogan The EU (Energy Performance of Buildings) Regulations 2012 transposed Directive 2010/31/EU on the energy performance of buildings (recast) into Irish Law, replacing an earlier directive from 2002 which had been transposed in 2006.  Under these Regulations all owners of buildings offered for sale or letting (including dwellings used for social housing) are required to provide persons who express an interest in availing of the building with a Building Energy Rating (BER) Certificate, which classifies the energy performance of the building or home concerned, and advises on further measures that can be taken to further improve energy performance.

The Regulations also require the owner, or any agent acting on their behalf, to produce a copy of the BER certificate on demand to the local Building Control Authority. Failure by an owner or their agent to produce a BER certificate on demand may, if proceedings are initiated, result in a Class A fine or a term of imprisonment or both.

While Ireland’s Building Energy Rating system has been in place since 2006 and is well-established, it is anticipated that the requirement to advertise ratings which came into effect from 9 January 2013 will greatly assist compliance due to its visibility in the marketplace. In this regard, the new Regulations require a person, or agent, to state the energy performance indicator of the current Building Energy Rating (BER) certificate for the building in any advertisements, including newspaper notices, web-based notices, leaflets and other notices.

My Department also continues to work closely with the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (who are the issuing authority tasked with the day to day administration of the BER system) to promote awareness of the BER system and to guide and assist individuals, property agents and industry in general in meeting their obligations.

Electromagnetic Fields Studies

 573. Deputy Michael Colreavy Information on Michael Colreavy Zoom on Michael Colreavy asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government Information on Phil Hogan Zoom on Phil Hogan the studies that have been carried out on the impact of electro magnetic fields; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [4673/13]

Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government (Deputy Phil Hogan): Information on Phil Hogan Zoom on Phil Hogan The issue of the potential health effects of electromagnetic fields was the subject of an Expert Group Report commissioned by the Government and published in March 2007. This Report, entitled Health Effects of Electromagnetic Fields, which considered issues such as digital signals, microwaves and mobile phone masts, is available for download on my Department’s website (www.environ.ie). The Expert Group reported that the majority scientific opinion was that no adverse short or long term effects have been demonstrated from exposure to electromagnetic fields at levels below the limits recommended by the International Commission on Non-Ionising Radiation Protection (ICNIRP). Extensive international research on the issue continues to be coordinated through bodies such as the World Health Organisation.

My Department will continue to monitor this and other scientific evidence as it is made available, and will consider any policy implications in this context.

Traveller Accommodation

 574. Deputy Dessie Ellis Information on Dessie Ellis Zoom on Dessie Ellis asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government Information on Phil Hogan Zoom on Phil Hogan if his attention has been drawn to the plight of six families currently residing adjacent to a halting site (details supplied in Dublin 15 one of whom has been there for 18 years; and the actions he will take to help the local authorities to accommodate them [5471/13]

Minister of State at the Department of the Environment, Community and Local Government (Deputy Jan O'Sullivan): Information on Jan O'Sullivan Zoom on Jan O'Sullivan  In accordance with the Housing (Traveller Accommodation) Act 1998, statutory responsibility for provision of Traveller accommodation programmes designed to meet the accommodation needs of Travellers rests with individual housing authorities, in this case Fingal County Council. My Department’s role is to ensure that there is an adequate legislative and financial system in place to assist the authorities in providing such accommodation.

My Department understands that the family in question were offered accommodation by Fingal County Council in the Barnlodge halting site, Dublin 11, which was opened in December 2010, but declined the offer. It remains an objective in the Council’s Traveller Accommodation Programme 2009 – 2013, to identify and secure lands to accommodate a 6-unit scheme of Traveller specific accommodation to meet the needs of Traveller families in the area, including this family. As yet, no suitable site has been identified by Fingal County Council.

Priory Hall Development

 575. Deputy Clare Daly Information on Clare Daly Zoom on Clare Daly asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government Information on Phil Hogan Zoom on Phil Hogan his views regarding the prospect of a resolution for Priory Hall residents, Dublin; and the location at which they can secure safe homes in which to live.  [5612/13]

Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government (Deputy Phil Hogan): Information on Phil Hogan Zoom on Phil Hogan The resolution process, which I understand is on-going, arose in the context of legal proceedings which were adjourned to afford relevant parties the opportunity to work together, under the chairmanship of Mr. Justice Finnegan (retired President of the High Court), to identify a way forward in relation to the complex problems at Priory Hall. Given that the matter is before the courts, it would be inappropriate for me to comment further other than to continue to urge all concerned to afford Mr. Justice Finnegan the opportunity to complete the task which he is undertaking.

Community Development Projects

 576. 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 will comment on the future development of local development groups and area partnerships; and if it is intended to ensure that community development programmes resources are allocated locally; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [5620/13]

Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government (Deputy Phil Hogan): Information on Phil Hogan Zoom on Phil Hogan It is my intention that the expertise and experience of local development companies will be retained in the new structures outlined in The Action Programme for Effective Local Government - Putting People First.

In their report, the recommendations of which are incorporated in the Action Programme, the Alignment Steering Group recognised the key strengths of local development companies, in areas such as service planning and delivery. Programme funding will continue to be available to local development companies in respect of their continued involvement in such work.

Environmental Issues

 577. Deputy Seamus Kirk Information on Seamus Kirk Zoom on Seamus Kirk asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government Information on Phil Hogan Zoom on Phil Hogan the amount of rainfall that has fallen here on a county basis over the past 12 years; and if he will make a statement on the matter.  [5625/13]

Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government (Deputy Phil Hogan): Information on Phil Hogan Zoom on Phil Hogan The information sought is not readily available, and compilation would involve a disproportionate amount of time and work.

Fire Safety

 578. Deputy Richard Boyd Barrett Information on Richard Boyd Barrett Zoom on Richard Boyd Barrett asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government Information on Phil Hogan Zoom on Phil Hogan his views on the Fingal County Council commissioned report on the 2007 fire at Ayrside, Swords, County Dublin, in timber framed apartments where inadequate and or deficient fire and smoke barriers allowed smoke to travel throughout a block of apartments; and his further views on the implications for fire safety compliance and public safety.  [5564/13]

Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government (Deputy Phil Hogan): Information on Phil Hogan Zoom on Phil Hogan The report in question was commissioned by the local authority concerned having regard to its own statutory functions as a Building Control Authority and as a Fire Authority, and any further action in relation to the report or its contents will be a matter for Fingal County Council in line with its standard arrangements for dealing with such matters. Neither I nor my Department has any function in relation to assessing, checking or testing compliance, or otherwise, of specific works or developments under the Building Control Acts or the Fire Safety Acts.

  Since 1 June 1992, all new, extended or materially altered buildings, including those which have timber frame structures, must be built in compliance with the requirements of the national Building Regulations. Primary responsibility for compliance with the requirements of the Building Regulations rests with the designers, builders and owners of buildings. Implementation and enforcement of the building control system is a matter for the local building control authority.

Local authorities already have extensive powers of inspection and enforcement under current legislation and have used such powers on a number of occasions where circumstances have given rise to concern. I expect local authorities to continue to use all of the powers currently available to them to address serious building defects.

  My Department is currently engaged in a review of Part B – Fire Safety of the Building Regulations and the accompanying Technical Guidance Document B which advises how the legal requirements in relation to fire safety can be achieved in practice. The question of the appropriate future regulatory requirements for all buildings, including timber frame buildings, will be addressed as part of this review. Any proposals for change will be subject to a comprehensive public consultation process and a rigorous Regulatory Impact Assessment in due course prior to their being signed into law.

Departmental Expenditure

 579. Deputy Thomas Pringle Information on Thomas Pringle Zoom on Thomas Pringle asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government Information on Phil Hogan Zoom on Phil Hogan if he will outline in tabular form the total cost of all conferences and seminars attended by his Department in 2012; the purpose of each conference-seminar; the location; the number of delegates that attended from his Department-agencies or otherwise that were represented; the total cost of each conference-seminar; and if he will make a statement on the matter.  [5635/13]

Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government (Deputy Phil Hogan): Information on Phil Hogan Zoom on Phil Hogan My Department’s expenditure on conferences and seminars is outlined in the tables below for 2012. The Department does not routinely collect information on the locations of conferences and seminars.

  The day to day operations of the agencies under the aegis of my Department are a matter for the individual agencies concerned. Accordingly, the information sought in relation to agencies is not available in my Department.

  Conferences & Seminars in the Department of Environment, Community & Local Government (Excluding Met Éireann)
Year Course Detail Total Cost Number of Participants Cost per person
2012 Conference on CPD audit training for ACCA members 320 1 320
2012 ACCA member's network seminar on business planning 35 1 35
2012 Season ticket for evening seminars Leinster Certified Public Accountants (CPA) Society 360 2 180
2012 Pathways to work seminar (tackling unemployment) 2012 117 1 117
2012 Infrastructure for spatial information in the European Community (INSPIRE) conference 1149 2 575
2012 Conference on nearly zero energy buildings 151 1 151
2012 Evidence into practice seminar, DCU Centre For Effective Services 20 1 20
2012 Institute of Internal Auditors (IIA) Irish annual conference 1650 4 413
2012 Value for money audit seminar 366 1 366
2012 Chief Fire Officer's annual conference 2012 1870 6 312
2012 ESB ecars conference 400 1 400
2012 Year end payroll seminar 200 1 200
2012 Conference on toxicology 797 1 797
2012 Seminar/training course on safety and health risk of employee drug and alcohol use attendance 560 2 280
2012 CPD course current challenges in fire safety 295 1 295
2012 Conference on law for engineers 123 1 123
2012 Public Procurement Conference Royal Irish Academy 120 1 120
2012 Seminar on local homeless strategies FEANTSA 80 1 80
2012 Homeless strategy conference FEANTSA 120 1 120
2012 Conference on access to housing for homeless people in Europe 2012 FEANTSA 360 1 360
2012 Housing conference of the Isles 357 1 357
2012 EPA national water conference 2012 1870 11 170
2012 Institute Of Certified Public Accountants In Ireland (CPA) conference 2012 250 1 250
2012 Conference/seminar  Local Authority accounting code of practice 400 4 100
2012 Auditing refresher with the CPA 75 1 75
2012 Housing practitioners conference 2012 IPA 750 4 188
2012 ACCA/CIPFA CPD seminar:  Accounting reform for the Irish Public Service 590 2 295
2012 Finance for non-finance managers IPA 405 1 405
2012 Conference/seminar economic recovery and Public Sector Reform IPA 176 1 176
2012 Strategic leadership conference 345 1 345
2012 Strategy, governance, accountability and risk seminar IPA 311 1 311
2012 Irish building control conference 1575 7 225
2012 Public procurement conference 275 1 275
2012 Conference on EU litigation update conference 59 1 59
2012 Conference on environmental regulation and enforcement 150 1 150
2012 Conferences/seminar on financial challenges ahead with Irish Council for social housing 150 2 75
2012 Better building conference 500 4 125
2012 See the light conference - Passive House Academy 230 2 115
2012 Attendance at symposium: Local Government reform NUI Maynooth 100 2 50
2012 Mediation Institute of Ireland CPD conference 215 1 215
2012 HR conflict management seminar 395 1 395
2012 Conference/Seminar on health and safety in the Public Sector 1770 5 354
2012 EU Presidency conference 195 1 195
2012 Ireland's EU Presidency 36 1 36
2012 Future of HR in the Public Sector conferences 523 2 261
2012 Annual Professional Conference of the Royal Institute of the Architects of Ireland  (RIAI) 2012 110 1 110
2012 EU conference on Energy Performance of Buildings 150 1 150
2012 Conference on agri environment 100 2 50
2012 CPD at Chartered Accountants of Ireland (50hrs) 1050 1 1050
2012 Chartered Accountants of Ireland Young professionals annual conference 175 1 175
2012 Conference annual safety forum 2012 175 1 175
2012 Conference on shaping EU rules 174 1 174
2012 Planning and environment law conference 2185 7 312
2012 Annual employment law conference 2012 175 1 175
2012 Implementation Science Summer School TCD 790 4 198
2012 Conference on law and the environment 195 1 195
2012 Conference on constitutional law at UCD 60 1 60
2012 Conference on the new system of environmental enforcement and sanctions 127 2 63
2012 Conference seminar on urban design 217 1 217
2012 Seminar on Water Loss UK 612 1 612
  Total Conference/Seminar Expenditure 27,090 116  
  Conference & Seminars in Met Eireann      
Year Course Detail Total Cost Number of Participants Cost per person
2012 Hirlam Conference - High Resolution Limited Area Model for Numerical Weather Prediction 225 1 225
2012 SIRWEC Conference - Road Weather Conference 600 2 300
2012 LAI (Library) Conference 367 1 367
2012 RIA Conference (Royal Irish Academy) 80 1 80
2012 Economic Recovery & the Public Sector 195 1 195
2012 ECAC Conference (European Conference on Applied Climatology) 425 1 425
2012 The future of HR in the Civil Service 301 1 301
2012 The Digital Frontier 120 1 120
- Total Conference/Seminar Expenditure 2,314 9  

Local Government Reform

 580. 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 the future plans for a town council (details supplied) in County Meath; if he intends to abolish it; and if he will make a statement on the matter.  [5674/13]

Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government (Deputy Phil Hogan): Information on Phil Hogan Zoom on Phil Hogan The Action Programme for Effective Local Government, Putting People First, which I published on 16 October 2012, sets out Government decisions for a range of measures in relation to local government structures, functions, funding, governance and operational matters. Chapter 6 of the Action Programme details policy decisions to replace town councils with a new model of municipal governance to address weaknesses and anomalies in the current system.

  Work on implementation of the reform programme is proceeding. In relation to sub-county reorganisation, I announced the establishment of the Local Electoral Area Boundary Committee on 15 November 2012. The Committee will review and make recommendations on local electoral boundaries having regard to the results of Census 2011 and the Action Programme. The Boundary Committee has been asked to report no later than 31 May 2013 and its recommendations will provide, inter alia, the basis for the configuration and municipal districts.

Pyrite Remediation Programme

 581. 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 the assistance available for people in counties Meath, Cavan and Monaghan affected by pyrite; the steps being to address this issue; and if he will make a statement on the matter.  [5675/13]

Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government (Deputy Phil Hogan): Information on Phil Hogan Zoom on Phil Hogan The independent Pyrite Panel which I established in September 2011 undertook a desktop study, in conjunction with stakeholder consultation, to establish facts in relation to the potential exposure to pyrite problems. The information was gathered from a number of sources including local authorities, structural guarantee providers, representatives of homeowners, private builders, construction professionals and public representatives and was cross referenced to verify, as far as practicable, its validity. According to its report, the pyrite problems appear to be confined to five local authority areas, Dublin City, Fingal, Meath, Kildare and Offaly. The Panel was not informed of pyrite problems in Cavan or Monaghan.

I have recently received Government approval for the imposition of a levy on both the quarrying and insurance sectors as a mechanism to provide the funding necessary for a remediation scheme. The imposition of these levies will require legislation and I am committed to having the legislation published and enacted in the shortest timeframe possible.

The Government also approved the establishment of a Resolution Board as recommended in the pyrite report. I have previously announced the appointment of the Chairman and I will announce the full Board membership shortly. The role of the Board will be to oversee the operation of the remediation scheme and to ensure that the public interest, and the interest of the affected homeowners, is well served.

The Construction Industry Federation, the Irish Concrete Federation and HomeBond have agreed to establish an entity for the purposes of operating the remediation scheme. A number of financial institutions have agreed in principle to make initial loan funding available to facilitate the early commencement of pyrite remediation work and it is intended that the entity will engage with those institutions in relation to the loan facility. Both the Chairman of the Resolution Board and I are keen for the Board to commence its work as soon as possible and there will be no undue delay on my part or that of my Department in putting the necessary structures in place for a remediation scheme.

Water Services Provision

 582. 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 in relation to the water tower in Dunshaughlin, County Meath, if the issue of water pressure will be addressed; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [5683/13]

Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government (Deputy Phil Hogan): Information on Phil Hogan Zoom on Phil Hogan The operation, maintenance and management of public water services infrastructure is the responsibility of the relevant water services authority, in this case Meath County Council. However, I understand that the Dunshaughlin Water Supply Improvement Scheme which is included in the Water Services Investment Programme 2010-2013 is substantially complete.

Household Charge Collection

 583. 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 the rate at which the household charge is levied in County Meath. [5686/13]

 584. 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 the number of household charge waivers granted in County Meath. [5687/13]

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. 583 and 584 together.

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 of €100, unless otherwise exempted or entitled to claim a waiver. It is a matter for an owner of a residential property to determine liability and pay the Charge. The Local Government Management Agency is administering the Household Charge system on a shared service/agency basis for all county and city councils.

I am advised by the Agency that, as of 1 February 2013, 995 Household Charge waivers have been granted in Meath.


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