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 Header Item Written Answers Nos. 176-184
 Header Item Irish Genealogy
 Header Item Departmental Expenditure
 Header Item Departmental Bodies
 Header Item Public Service Pension Scheme
 Header Item Energy Efficiency Programme
 Header Item Motor Tax Collection
 Header Item Household Charge Collection
 Header Item Housing Grants

Wednesday, 24 April 2013

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 800 No. 4

First Page Previous Page Page of 92 Next Page Last Page

Written Answers Nos. 176-184

Irish Genealogy

 176. Deputy Clare Daly Information on Clare Daly Zoom on Clare Daly asked the Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht Information on Jimmy Deenihan Zoom on Jimmy Deenihan the access and rights that will be afforded to adopted people in tracing their genealogy as part of the Irish genealogy. [19157/13]

Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht (Deputy Jimmy Deenihan): Information on Jimmy Deenihan Zoom on Jimmy Deenihan As the Deputy may be aware, the issue of adoption is dealt with by my colleague, the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, Ms Frances Fitzgerald, T.D.

  My Department runs a website www.irishgenealogy.ie, which has two main elements. The first element contains almost 3 million Church records of births, marriages and burials, which may be searched free of charge. The second element is a recently launched webportal, which enables users to search genealogy records from a number of on-line sources. The website is free to access and contains no restrictions surrounding access to records held on the site.

Departmental Expenditure

 177. Deputy Sean Fleming Information on Seán Fleming Zoom on Seán Fleming asked the Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources Information on Pat Rabbitte Zoom on Pat Rabbitte if any of his Department’s 2012 capital expenditure allocation was used for current expenditure purposes last year, the amount used for this purpose; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [19212/13]

 178. Deputy Sean Fleming Information on Seán Fleming Zoom on Seán Fleming asked the Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources Information on Pat Rabbitte Zoom on Pat Rabbitte if he will provide the month by month profile for his Department's 2013 capital expendiuture;; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [19228/13]

Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources (Deputy Pat Rabbitte): Information on Pat Rabbitte Zoom on Pat Rabbitte I propose to take Question Nos. 177 and 178 together.

  I can confirm for the Deputy that none of my Department’s 2012 capital allocation was used for current expenditure purposes last year. In relation to my Department’s 2013 capital allocation, a month by month profile of the allocation is provided in the following table. The profile includes a €10.4m capital carryover from 2012.

  2013 Capital Profile

Month
€000
January
3,833
February
2,952
March
3,224
April
8,053
May
5,934
June
11,460
July
8,149
August
5,316
September
8,234
October
9,157
November
13,320
December
15,768
Total
95,400

Departmental Bodies

 179. Deputy Luke 'Ming' Flanagan Information on Luke 'Ming' Flanagan Zoom on Luke 'Ming' Flanagan asked the Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources Information on Pat Rabbitte Zoom on Pat Rabbitte if he will reconsider the appointment of a person (details supplied) to the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland, that this person's position is in conflict with his directorship of Mainstream Renewable Power, which is seeking to build hundreds of wind turbines in the midlands; in view of the fact that the SEAI have been tasked by him to determine issues related to deciding the appropriate separation distance between wind turbines and family homes, if minimum separation distances are increased wind farm developers state that they will be building fewer turbines which will impact their ability to generate profits; if he will consider appointing the EPA, as the statutory body for issues concerning noise; if he will undertake matters related to the review of the guidelines, as the SEAI have a conflicting role in that they are tasked with promoting wind energy; his views on whether this person's involvement as director and advocate for Mainstream Renewable Power undermines the credibility of the SEAI; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [19358/13]

Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources (Deputy Pat Rabbitte): Information on Pat Rabbitte Zoom on Pat Rabbitte In January of this year I signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with my UK counterpart, Mr. Edward Davey M.P., to explore the potential for exporting wind based renewable energy from Ireland to the UK. Intensive discussions are being progressed by my Department and its UK counterpart on this matter. Whilst the signing of the MOU indicates a strong statement of intent on the part of both Governments, considerable work remains to be done to put the necessary comprehensive framework in place. This would be necessary in advance of any specific project being implemented and any such project will be subject to all appropriate statutory consents. The Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI) has no statutory responsibility in this regard and also has no regulatory role in the area or in relation to noise control.

More generally, a technical review of the Wind Energy Guidelines is being overseen by officials from the Department of Environment, Community and Local Government, my Department and the SEAI. This review will be completed later this year. SEAI has been commissioned to conduct a targeted study of certain aspects of the Wind Energy Guidelines 2006. This study will examine the manner in which the guidelines address key issues of community concern such as noise (including separation distance) and shadow flicker. The study will be one input into the review of the Wind Energy Guidelines. I have no doubt that SEAI will discharge this work in a fully objective manner.

The Environmental Protection Agency is an independent public body operating under the aegis of the Department of the Environment, Community and Local Government and issues concerning its remit are in the first instance a matter for the Minister of the Environment, Community and Local Government.

Finally, the appointments of the Chair and Directors to the Board of SEAI are made in accordance with the relevant provisions of the Sustainable Energy Act 2002. The Board acts in accordance with the revised Code of Practice for the Governance of State Bodies published by the Department of Finance in 2009, and all Board members are required to make Statements of Interests under the Ethics in Public Office Acts 1995 and 2001.

Public Service Pension Scheme

 180. Deputy Gerry Adams Information on Gerry Adams Zoom on Gerry Adams asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government Information on Phil Hogan Zoom on Phil Hogan the reason part time fire-fighters are not entitled to a pension although they are paying a pension levy [19196/13]

Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government (Deputy Phil Hogan): Information on Phil Hogan Zoom on Phil Hogan The Financial Emergency Measures in the Public Interest Act, 2009, provides that any public servant, who is a member of a public service pension scheme, is entitled to a benefit under such a scheme or receives payment in lieu of membership in such a scheme, is subject to a deduction from their remuneration.

  In 2008, retained fire-fighters were given the option of joining the Local Government Superannuation Scheme (LGSS). Retained fire-fighters who opted not to join the scheme receive, on retirement, a gratuity of 1/8th of the annual retainer multiplied by the number of years of actual service (up to a maximum of four times the annual retainer). This is a payment in lieu of membership of a pension scheme and as such retained fire-fighters are subject to the deduction provided for in the Financial Emergency Measures in the Public Interest Act, 2009.

  All retained fire-fighters appointed after 1 January 2013 must join the Single Public Service Pension Scheme.

Energy Efficiency Programme

 181. Deputy Róisín Shortall Information on Róisín Shortall Zoom on Róisín Shortall 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 positive results achieved under the DEHLG2010 Energy Efficiency Programme by Dublin City Council where the BER rating on senior citizens' homes in the pilot area went from an F/G rating to a C1/B3 rating and additionally the significant savings which this has provided for the residents; in view of this, if he will outline his plans to extend this funding programme in order that similar retrofitting can be carried out across other senior citizen housing complexes. [19330/13]

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 enhancement of energy efficiency standards remains a priority within my Department. In March, I announced a capital allocation of €10m to local authorities in respect of these energy efficiency retrofitting works for this year.

This year’s programme includes a retrofitting measure aimed at improving the energy efficiency of older apartments and houses by reducing heat loss through the fabric of the building. Over the past two years the retrofitting measure focussed on improvement works with the objective of returning as many vacant units as possible to productive use. Over that period some €52.5 million was recouped to local authorities in respect of improvements carried out to 4,774 dwellings.

In 2013 I am targeting grants at those older houses and apartments which lack adequate insulation and draught proofing. Local authorities have been advised to pay particular attention to dwellings which accommodate older people and people with disabilities.

The retrofitting programme offers a very practical and cost-effective way for local authorities to improve the standard of their housing stock. The programme brings immediate as well as long term benefits for the community as a whole in terms of sustaining and creating jobs, and delivering a greener Ireland for the future.

Motor Tax Collection

 182. Deputy Michael Healy-Rae Information on Michael Healy-Rae Zoom on Michael Healy-Rae asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government Information on Phil Hogan Zoom on Phil Hogan his views on the following matter regarding motor tax (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [19385/13]

Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government (Deputy Phil Hogan): Information on Phil Hogan Zoom on Phil Hogan There have been no recent changes to the supporting documentation required for the taxing of a commercial vehicle. Licensing authorities have an obligation under Article 3 of the Road Vehicles (Registration and Licensing) (Amendment) Regulations 1992 to be satisfied that a vehicle is correctly taxed and the authority must have adequate documentation to support a claim for the goods rate of motor tax.  Such documentation may include evidence of registration for VAT purposes, a certificate of commercial insurance or, at the discretion of the licensing authority concerned, any other appropriate document that would indicate that the applicant is in trade or business.  It is up to the individual concerned to provide whatever evidence is required by the licensing authority in order for it to be satisfied that the applicant is entitled to claim a commercial rate of tax.

Household Charge Collection

 183. 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 if he will outline, on a local authority basis, the compliance rate for payment of the household tax per month since November 2012. [19188/13]

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 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. The attached table details the properties registered for the Household Charge , including waiver registrations, by local authority area on 30 November 2012, 31 December 2012 , 31 January 2013, 28 February 2013, 31 March 2013 and on 19 April 2013, expressed as a percentage of the number of estimated liable properties.

  I am advised by the Agency that due to relatively low volumes, waiver details are not automatically extracted on a daily basis and the numbers of waivers cannot be retrospectively generated once a date has passed. Therefore, in assembling the table, the figure for the number of waivers for some dates has been estimated by the Agency using the closest available date for which waiver figures are recorded. Given the low number of waivers as a proportion of the total number of properties registered, the impact on the attached table is likely to be minimal, if any.

County/City Council
Estimated No. of Liable Properties
Properties Registered as a % of Liable Properties

30/11/2012
Properties Registered as a % of Liable Properties

31/12/2012
Properties Registered as a % of Liable Properties

31/1/2013
Properties Registered as a % of Liable Properties

28/2/2013
Properties Registered as a % of Liable Properties

31/3/2013
Properties Registered as a % of Liable Properties

19/4/2013
Carlow
18,257
66.20%
68.10%
70.50%
71.80%
72.70%
73.60%
Cavan
25,611
67.20%
68.30%
69.90%
70.90%
71.60%
72.30%
Clare
45,786
72.10%
73.30%
74.70%
76.30%
77.40%
78.30%
Cork City
41,649
67.50%
68.30%
69.00%
69.60%
70.60%
71.70%
Cork County
143,887
64.70%
66.50%
68.00%
69.00%
70.10%
70.90%
Donegal
65,331
55.30%
57.10%
58.80%
60.70%
61.60%
62.50%
Dublin City
190,685
72.60%
73.30%
74.20%
74.50%
75.40%
76.10%
Dún Laoghaire

-Rathdown
74,390
85.20%
85.80%
86.60%
86.90%
87.50%
88.00%
Fingal
90,286
68.80%
69.90%
71.00%
71.60%
72.80%
73.70%
Galway City
27,086
74.50%
77.60%
78.60%
79.20%
79.90%
80.70%
Galway County
62,851
66.40%
66.80%
69.40%
71.10%
72.00%
73.10%
Kerry
58,792
73.90%
74.70%
75.70%
76.60%
77.30%
78.20%
Kildare
68,215
67.20%
68.30%
69.70%
70.30%
71.40%
72.30%
Kilkenny
32,067
66.70%
68.40%
70.40%
71.20%
72.00%
72.80%
Laois
26,185
62.80%
63.70%
65.40%
66.50%
67.30%
68.10%
Leitrim
13,069
70.20%
70.80%
72.60%
73.60%
74.80%
75.70%
Limerick City
20,380
69.40%
70.10%
70.80%
71.50%
72.90%
73.80%
Limerick County
46,473
68.30%
69.20%
70.70%
71.50%
72.50%
73.40%
Longford
12,928
67.90%
70.10%
72.30%
74.10%
75.10%
76.20%
Louth
41,176
61.30%
62.60%
64.20%
64.90%
65.80%
66.50%
Mayo
51,363
75.40%
76.70%
79.50%
80.90%
81.60%
82.10%
Meath
60,652
63.10%
64.70%
66.00%
66.80%
67.70%
68.50%
Monaghan
20,176
68.80%
69.50%
71.40%
72.00%
72.90%
73.40%
North Tipperary
24,839
72.80%
73.60%
75.00%
75.80%
77.00%
77.60%
Offaly
25,224
60.20%
62.40%
63.70%
65.10%
66.10%
67.10%
Roscommon
23,888
67.50%
69.50%
73.40%
75.40%
76.30%
77.30%
Sligo
25,281
70.50%
72.40%
75.10%
76.20%
77.10%
78.20%
South Dublin
81,822
64.00%
65.10%
66.00%
66.50%
67.70%
68.80%
South Tipperary
30,368
68.30%
69.20%
70.70%
71.50%
72.30%
73.20%
Waterford City
15,753
67.70%
68.40%
69.50%
70.10%
70.90%
71.70%
Waterford County
24,777
66.50%
67.30%
68.50%
69.40%
70.40%
71.30%
Westmeath
29,872
68.40%
69.20%
70.30%
71.00%
71.70%
72.90%
Wexford
56,030
65.50%
66.30%
68.00%
69.10%
70.00%
70.80%
Wicklow
45,665
70.20%
70.90%
71.90%
72.60%
73.40%
74.10%
  

Housing Grants

 184. Deputy Robert Troy Information on Robert Troy Zoom on Robert Troy asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government Information on Phil Hogan Zoom on Phil Hogan when he will allocate the much needed funding to Westmeath County Council for housing grants. [19191/13]

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 On 22 February 2013 I announced capital allocations to local authorities under the suite of Grants for Older People and People with a Disability amounting to €42.750 million. This year I allocated local authorities the full amount of their contractual commitments which, in the case of Westmeath County Council, amounted to €47,803. The balance of the available funding was allocated on the basis of each authority’s share of the new applications on hand in January 2013. This brought Westmeath County Council’s overall allocation to €435,722. On 22 April I announced a supplementary allocation of €1.2m to 13 Local Authorities which included €145,844 for Westmeath County Council bringing their overall allocation to €581,566.


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