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 Header Item Written Answers Nos. 185 - 195
 Header Item Special Areas of Conservation Appeals
 Header Item Arts and Culture Funding
 Header Item Sports Funding
 Header Item Special Areas of Conservation Designation
 Header Item Special Areas of Conservation Designation
 Header Item Deontais Caipitil
 Header Item Housing Assistance Payments Eligibility
 Header Item Property Taxation Exemptions

Thursday, 16 May 2013

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 803 No. 3

First Page Previous Page Page of 72 Next Page Last Page

Written Answers Nos. 185 - 195

Special Areas of Conservation Appeals

 185. Deputy Pádraig Mac Lochlainn Information on Pádraig MacLochlainn Zoom on Pádraig MacLochlainn asked the Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht Information on Jimmy Deenihan Zoom on Jimmy Deenihan if a person who has ceased farming and who is the registered owner of lands that are subject to a special area of conservation is entitled to a compensation scheme; and if so, to whom do they apply to for this compensation. [23393/13]

Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht (Deputy Jimmy Deenihan): Information on Jimmy Deenihan Zoom on Jimmy Deenihan Under the European Communities (Birds and Natural Habitats) Regulations 2011, compensation is payable from my Department where a person has been refused consent by me for a prescribed activity within a European site that they have been undertaking in the five year period prior to the refusal.

My Department administers a small-scale farm plan scheme, which supports only active farmers in adopting appropriate management practices in areas nominated for designation. There is no funding scheme available from my Department for farmers or landowners who have ceased farming in a European site.

Most financial support for farmers, including payments in respect of farming within European sites, is made available through schemes operated by the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine.

Arts and Culture Funding

 186. Deputy Sandra McLellan Information on Sandra McLellan Zoom on Sandra McLellan asked the Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht Information on Jimmy Deenihan Zoom on Jimmy Deenihan the amount of funding he has allocated for the City of Culture programme 2014; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [23423/13]

 187. Deputy Sandra McLellan Information on Sandra McLellan Zoom on Sandra McLellan asked the Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht Information on Jimmy Deenihan Zoom on Jimmy Deenihan if he will outline his plans to make Limerick Ireland's first National City of Culture; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [23424/13]

 188. Deputy Sandra McLellan Information on Sandra McLellan Zoom on Sandra McLellan asked the Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht Information on Jimmy Deenihan Zoom on Jimmy Deenihan in view of the closure of the Belltable, if he will outline his plans to ensure that Limerick city has a designated arts centre; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [23425/13]

 189. Deputy Sandra McLellan Information on Sandra McLellan Zoom on Sandra McLellan asked the Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht Information on Jimmy Deenihan Zoom on Jimmy Deenihan if he will provide details of the long-term artistic and economic benefits he expects to accrue to cities that are designated cities of culture; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [23426/13]

Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht (Deputy Jimmy Deenihan): Information on Jimmy Deenihan Zoom on Jimmy Deenihan I propose to take Questions Nos.186 to 189, inclusive, together.

  Last July I announced the introduction of a new National City of Culture Initiative for Ireland. As part of this initiative a city in Ireland is selected and designated as a National City of Culture every two years, with the designation itself lasting for one calendar year. Limerick City will be first National City of Culture in 2014 giving the City an opportunity to shape and brand the new Limerick.

  Limerick City is undergoing a process of profound change at present and 2014 is an important year for the city as it will be the year in which a new single local authority will be established. The Limerick Reorganisation Implementation Group (LRIG) is preparing for this change, and I believe that the designation of Limerick as a City of Culture will help to shape, brand and promote a new Limerick city.

  Limerick’s preparations are well underway with former European Parliament President Pat Cox leading the initiative, joined by two other internationally renowned Freemen of Limerick. These are Riverdance composer Bill Whelan and rugby international Paul O’Connell. I understand that proposals from interested applicants for 2014 are now being accepted by LRIG. Further details are available at www.limerickcityofculture.ie.   

  The aim of the National City of Culture Initiative is to deliver a programme of cultural events and engagement in a city for one calendar year and to build a longer-term positive impact. The National City of Culture Initiative will seek to bring artists, arts organisations, local authorities and civic groups that are working in a city together not only through the design of a calendar of events that showcases all that the city has to offer in arts and cultural expression, but also to generate a legacy in cultural co-operation among all the citizens of the city. There are a number of excellent galleries, theatres and museums operating in Limerick and these venues will play an important role in the 2014 programme of events.

  I am awaiting a proposed programme of events for 2014 from the LRIG. As soon as I have received this proposed programme, the question of funding will be considered.

  An EU study in 2004 found that the designation of European Capital of Culture served as a catalyst for the cultural development and transformation of the chosen city, and it is aimed to replicate these benefits on the national stage through this initiative.

Sports Funding

 190. Deputy Brendan Griffin Information on Brendan Griffin Zoom on Brendan Griffin asked the Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht Information on Jimmy Deenihan Zoom on Jimmy Deenihan if funding will be reimbursed to a sports club (details supplied) in County Kerry; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [23433/13]

Minister of State at the Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht (Deputy Dinny McGinley): Information on Dinny McGinley Zoom on Dinny McGinley My Department sanctioned grants over €221,000 for the organisation in question towards improvement works on the football pitch and for the design and supervision fees relating to same. To date, payments in respect of the improvement works have been made based on the expenditure submitted to my Department. While a claim of €6,050 has been made in respect of the design and supervision fees, no payment has been made in this regard.

In keeping with the appropriate regulations with regard to public procurement, my Department had no option but to cancel the outstanding balance of €3,814.90 due to the organisation in question. The difficulty arose when a company that did not tender for the development was selected for works on the dressing rooms.

I would recommend that the club's representative make contact with my Department’s office in Na Forbacha which may be in a position to advise them further on the matter.

Special Areas of Conservation Designation

 191. Deputy Colm Keaveney Information on Colm Keaveney Zoom on Colm Keaveney asked the Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht Information on Jimmy Deenihan Zoom on Jimmy Deenihan the process used to determine which areas of raised bogs were to be designated as special areas of conservation under the habitats directive; the total area of raised bogs owned by the State or by semi-State companies that were surveyed; the total area of such bogs that were designated under the directive; the total area of raised bogs owned by the State or semi-State companies; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [23443/13]

Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht (Deputy Jimmy Deenihan): Information on Jimmy Deenihan Zoom on Jimmy Deenihan Under the EU Habitats Directive, each Member State is required to designate Special Areas of Conservation (SAC) for the protection of endangered habitats and species as listed in the Directive. As part of Ireland’s obligations under the Directive, 53 Special Areas of Conservation were nominated for designation between 1997 and 2002 for the protection of Active Raised Bog, Degraded Raised Bog still capable of natural regeneration and Bog Woodland. Each of these habitats is listed in Annex I of the Directive.

  The choice of sites for selection as SACs arose from an extensive survey of the habitats in Ireland and the application of the scientific criteria specified in Annex III of the Directive. In short, the criteria used included:

-    The degree of representivity of the natural habitat type on the site.

-   The area of the site covered by the natural habitat type in relation to the total area covered by that natural habitat type within national territory.

-   The degree of conservation of the structure and functions of the natural habitat type concerned and restoration possibilities.

-   A global assessment of the value of the site for conservation of the natural habitat type concerned.

  The reasoning behind the nomination for designation of each individual site is contained in the Natura 2000 standard data form, which can be viewed on my Department’s website at www.npws.ie. The ownership of these bogs was not a central consideration in their selection for survey or designation and there are no precise details available to my Department of the area of State or semi-State land which were surveyed or designated as raised bog SAC. I understand however, that of the 53 designated raised bog SAC there were significant amounts of State owned land in 33 of these sites at the time of survey.

  My Department does not have details of the total area of raised bog owned by the State or semi-State companies.

Special Areas of Conservation Designation

 192. Deputy Colm Keaveney Information on Colm Keaveney Zoom on Colm Keaveney asked the Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht Information on Jimmy Deenihan Zoom on Jimmy Deenihan the number of notifications of site designations under the habitats directive that were issued; the number of landowners that received individual notice of such designation; the policy and procedure for the sending of such notification; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [23444/13]

Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht (Deputy Jimmy Deenihan): Information on Jimmy Deenihan Zoom on Jimmy Deenihan In 1997, before the commencement of the designation process for Ireland’s network of Special Areas of Conservation (SACs) under the Habitats Directive, my Department as then configured undertook an information campaign which involved issuing letters to some 230,000 rural households advising people in general terms of the forthcoming programme and where they could obtain further information of the proposed designations.

Notification by successive Ministers of their intention to designate individual sites was undertaken in accordance with the procedures and requirements laid down in the transposing regulations, the European Communities (Natural Habitats) Regulations 1997, which have now been replaced by the European Communities (Birds and Natural Habitats) Regulations 2011.

Information on the number of individual notifications issued to individuals for all 429 sites nominated for designation as SACs under the Habitats Directive over the past 16 years is not readily available and its compilation would involve a disproportionate amount of time and work.

However, in relation to the 53 raised bog Special Areas of Conservation, I can advise that some 1,457 letters and site specific information packs were issued to individuals identified as being potentially affected by the proposed designations of those SACs nominated between 1997 and 1999. A further 3,534 letters and site-packs were issued to persons potentially affected by the proposed designations in 2002 of the remaining raised bog sites. These letters included maps of the sites, as well as details of restrictions to activities therein, compensation provisions, and the manner in which an objection might be made to the proposed designation.

My Department sources its information for issuing letters from a number of sources, including the Property Registration Authority, the Land Commission (now Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine), the Land Parcel Identification System used by the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, and the electoral register.

It should be noted that the development of the Land Direct system by the Property Registration Authority in recent years has allowed much more comprehensive land-owner identification. This has improved the Department’s ability to reach as many interested parties as possible. While every reasonable step has been taken over the years to identify landowners and notify them directly, it is not possible to guarantee that all such persons can be identified. It is commonplace, particularly in bogs, that individuals’ interests are not registered at all, or not in their own names. Turbary rights, in particular, are not always up to date or accurately reflect actual land use activity.

For this reason, and in accordance with the Regulations referred to above, copies of maps of proposed SACs and copies of the Government Notices relating to those sites are also displayed in public access points such as Garda Síochána stations, local authority offices, local offices of the Department of Social Protection, local offices of the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine and offices of Teagasc located within or near the sites concerned. Proposals to designate sites as SACs are also advertised in the appropriate local newspapers with radio advertisements being run on local stations. A free-phone number is also operated to facilitate the dissemination of information to those who are alerted through these publicity measures.

Deontais Caipitil

 193. D'fhiafraigh Deputy Pearse Doherty Information on Pearse Doherty Zoom on Pearse Doherty den Aire Ealaíon, Oidhreachta agus Gaeltachta Information on Jimmy Deenihan Zoom on Jimmy Deenihan maidir leis an gcúnamh caipitil a chuireann an Rannóg Áiseanna Pobail agus Teanga ina Roinn ar fáil, cad é luach na ndeontas a ceadaíodh in 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011 agus 2012, agus cén céatadán, contae ar chontae, a fuair na contaetha sin. [23475/13]

Minister of State at the Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht (Deputy Dinny McGinley): Information on Dinny McGinley Zoom on Dinny McGinley Tugtar eolas sa tábla thíos ar na deontais caipitil a ceadaíodh i leith áiseanna pobail, teanga agus caitheamh aimsire sa Ghaeltacht do 2011 agus 2012. Ní miste a nótáil go mbaineann sé seo leis an tréimhse ó 1 Eanáir 2011 go 31 Nollaig 2012.

Contae
 
2011
 
2012
 
%
%
Dún na nGall
€132,400.00
61
€123,637.00
9
Maigh Eo
€0.00
0
€41,753.00
3
Gaillimh
€85,501.00
39
€981,992.30
69
Ciarraí
€0.00
0
€91,757.00
7
Corcaigh
€0.00
0
€147,244.00
11
Port Láirge
€0.00
0
€10,169.00
1
An Mhí
€0.00
0
€0.00
0
Iomlán
217,901.00
1,396,552.30

Housing Assistance Payments Eligibility

 194. Deputy Finian McGrath Information on Finian McGrath Zoom on Finian McGrath asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government Information on Phil Hogan Zoom on Phil Hogan the position regarding housing in respect of a person (details supplied). [23400/13]

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 provision of sheltered housing is mainly funded through my Department’s Capital Assistance Scheme (CAS) which provides funding of up to 100% of the approved cost for the provision of accommodation to meet the needs of persons with specific categories of housing need including older people, people with an intellectual, physical or mental health disability, the homeless, returning emigrants and victims of domestic violence. My Department’s involvement with the voluntary and co-operative housing schemes relates primarily to the provision of funds for individual projects. The administration of the schemes, including the nomination of tenants from the local authority housing list, is the responsibility of the relevant housing authority.

Decisions on eligibility of individual applicants for social housing support and the allocation of that support are solely a matter for the relevant housing authority, in this case Dublin City Council.

Property Taxation Exemptions

 195. 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 regarding waivers for the property tax on unfinished estates, 82 waivers were recommended by Kerry County Council but only 27 were granted, the reason the rest were refused; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [23531/13]

Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government (Deputy Phil Hogan): Information on Phil Hogan Zoom on Phil Hogan An exemption from the local property tax applies to developments listed in the schedule to the Finance (Local Property Tax) Regulations 2013. The list of unfinished housing developments eligible for the exemption was compiled by local authorities utilising the categorisation employed for the purposes of the National Housing Survey 2012. The Survey was carried out over the course of summer 2012 by my Department in conjunction with local authorities and the Housing Agency.

The categorisation methodology for the survey was different to that which was used in 2011 and which provided the basis for the waiver from the household charge. That earlier categorisation related largely to the level of on-site activity at the time the 2011 survey was carried out and had less to do with the physical character of a development. The 2012 survey was based purely and objectively on the actual state of completion of a development, and established that there were 1,700 unfinished developments, with 1,100 of them deemed to be in a seriously problematic condition. This represents a 37% reduction in unfinished developments since 2010.

Only developments that were deemed by local authorities to be in a “seriously problematic condition”, regardless of whether a developer was on or off site, were included in the LPT regulations.

For purposes of preparing the final list of developments to which the exemption from the local property tax would apply local authorities were asked by my Department in February 2013 to confirm or update the then existing list of estates in a “seriously problematic condition” as appropriate. A small number of local authorities’ returns were queried by my Department at an aggregate level where it appeared that the list of developments being put forward for inclusion under the exemption was inconsistent with the results of the 2012 survey or where, for example, developments with no completed units or those completely unoccupied had been proposed for inclusion. Authorities were asked to examine their lists again with a view to achieving greater consistency with the results of the 2012 survey.


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