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 Header Item Written Answers Nos. 421-433
 Header Item Social and Affordable Housing Data
 Header Item Local Authority Housing Data
 Header Item Derelict Sites Data
 Header Item Meteorological Services
 Header Item Social and Affordable Housing
 Header Item Water and Sewerage Schemes Funding
 Header Item Proposed Legislation
 Header Item Planning Guidelines
 Header Item National Emergency Plan
 Header Item European Union Military Committee

Tuesday, 24 October 2017

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 960 No. 7

First Page Previous Page Page of 91 Next Page Last Page

Written Answers Nos. 421-433

Social and Affordable Housing Data

 421. Deputy Eoin Ó Broin Information on Eoin Ó Broin Zoom on Eoin Ó Broin asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government Information on Eoghan Murphy Zoom on Eoghan Murphy the number and cost of Part V units purchased with funding from his Department for each year from 2008 to 2016 and to date in 2017; the target number of this type of unit to be purchased with funding from his Department in 2018, 2019, 2020 and 2021; and the funding allocated for Part V purchases for each year from 2018 to 2021, in tabular form. [44783/17]

Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government (Deputy Eoghan Murphy): Information on Eoghan Murphy Zoom on Eoghan Murphy My Department supports local authorities and approved housing bodies to acquire new social homes through the Part V mechanism through the provision of capital assistance under the Social Housing Capital Investment Programme, Capital Advance Leasing Facility and also through the long-term leasing of properties under the Social Housing Current Expenditure programme. As such, there is no one dedicated funding scheme for Part V units and the Department does not record information in the manner requested.

  Some housing developments completed in 2016/2017 were subject to older Part V agreements made before 1 September 2015, when other options - such as a financial contribution, the provision of fully or partially serviced sites or the provision of land elsewhere in the functional area of the planning authority - were available. This means that properties currently being obtained via Part V may originate from either developments under old permissions and agreements or through agreements under the new legislative provision and, accordingly, costs differ and an average cost would not be indicative.

  Details on the number of social housing properties constructed, purchased and leased by local authorities and approved housing bodies, for letting to those on their social housing waiting lists, are published on my Department’s website at the following link:

http://www.housing.gov.ie/housing/social-housing/social-and-affordble/overall-social-housing-provision.

Information in respect of most areas of social housing is available up to quarter two of 2017, while specific data relating to social housing delivery under the Part V arrangements is available up to end 2016.

  The overall number of new social homes anticipated to become available through the Part V process in the period of the Rebuilding Ireland strategy is approximately 4,700. The houses delivered in this way will be supported under a range of different programmes, involving either local authorities or approved housing bodies and the method of delivery will also be subject to localised negotiations between local authorities and developers. The funding required for Part V delivery will be provided from within the €6 billion that is now available to support the 50,000 social homes delivery under Rebuilding Ireland. The number of Part V units expected to be delivered in each year is as follows: 590 in 2018, 1,100 in 2019, 1,210 in 2020 and 1,320 in 2021.

Local Authority Housing Data

 422. Deputy Mick Barry Information on Mick Barry Zoom on Mick Barry asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government Information on Eoghan Murphy Zoom on Eoghan Murphy if his Department collects annual statistics from local authorities on the number of joint tenancies in local authority and approved body housing in which one partner relinquishes the tenancy; if so, the number of these instances it is the female partner who relinquishes their share of the tenancy leaving the male partner as the sole tenant; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [44794/17]

Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government (Deputy Eoghan Murphy): Information on Eoghan Murphy Zoom on Eoghan Murphy All of the housing statistics collected by my Department on an annual basis can be accessed on the  Department's website at the following link:

  http://www.housing.gov.ie/housing/statistics/housing-statistics.

  My Department does not collect the statistical information sought by the Deputy.

Derelict Sites Data

 423. Deputy Catherine Murphy Information on Catherine Murphy Zoom on Catherine Murphy asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government Information on Eoghan Murphy Zoom on Eoghan Murphy the way in which an unfinished building is added to his Department's list of officially listed derelict sites (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [44802/17]

Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government (Deputy Eoghan Murphy): Information on Eoghan Murphy Zoom on Eoghan Murphy My Department does not maintain a list of officially listed derelict sites, as referred to in the Question.

The Derelict Sites Act 1990 imposes a general duty on every owner and occupier of land to take all reasonable steps to ensure that the land does not become or continue to be a derelict site. It also imposes a duty on local authorities to take all reasonable steps (including the exercise of any appropriate statutory powers) to ensure that any land within their functional area does not become or continue to be a derelict site.  To this end, local authorities have been given substantial powers under the Act in relation to any such sites, including powers to require specified measures to be taken in relation to a derelict site, to impose a levy on sites which are included in the local authority’s derelict sites register, or to compulsorily acquire any derelict site.

Under the Act, local authorities are required to maintain a derelict sites register, which includes the name and address of each owner and occupier, where these can be ascertained by reasonable enquiry, of any land which, in the opinion of the local authority, is a derelict site. Under section 8(5) of the Act, a copy of the derelict sites register for any local authority can be inspected at the offices of that authority during office hours. This facilitates members of the public to engage, if they so wish, with their local authority in relation to addressing individual derelict sites.

Before including a site on the register, local authorities are required to give notice to any owner and occupier of their intention to include the site on the register, and must consider any written representations that any owner or occupier may make before deciding whether to include the site on the register. Local authorities are also required to send notice of the inclusion of a site on the register to the owner and occupier of the site.

I understand from Kildare County Council that the particular site in question is not included in their Derelict Sites Register.  It is open to any person to contact a local authority in relation to a particular site which may be considered a derelict site for the purposes of the Act.

Meteorological Services

 424. Deputy Eamon Ryan Information on Eamon Ryan Zoom on Eamon Ryan asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government Information on Eoghan Murphy Zoom on Eoghan Murphy the official storm level categorisation given to storm Ophelia by Met Éireann; and if he will make a statement on the matter.  [44804/17]

Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government (Deputy Eoghan Murphy): Information on Eoghan Murphy Zoom on Eoghan Murphy In common with many other European Meteorological Services, Met Éireann does not categorise storms by level of severity.

  According to protocols adopted by the National Hurricane Centre in Florida and used by Met Éireann, Ophelia was an 'extra tropical cyclone' when it made landfall over Ireland.

Social and Affordable Housing

 425. Deputy Eoin Ó Broin Information on Eoin Ó Broin Zoom on Eoin Ó Broin asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government Information on Eoghan Murphy Zoom on Eoghan Murphy the units delivered through SHCEP, the social housing current expenditure programme, in each of the years 2014 to 2016 and to date in 2017 by ownership (details supplied) in tabular form. [44860/17]

 426. Deputy Eoin Ó Broin Information on Eoin Ó Broin Zoom on Eoin Ó Broin asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government Information on Eoghan Murphy Zoom on Eoghan Murphy the average length of leases of properties secured under the SHCEP programme by ownership type (details supplied) including repair and leasing scheme units, in tabular form. [44861/17]

 427. Deputy Eoin Ó Broin Information on Eoin Ó Broin Zoom on Eoin Ó Broin asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government Information on Eoghan Murphy Zoom on Eoghan Murphy the grounds on which a property owner that has leased a property under the SHCEP programme can terminate the lease prior to the end date contained in the initial agreement; and if there are time limits placed on the earliest date during the lease that a property owner can trigger these termination clauses. [44862/17]

 428. Deputy Eoin Ó Broin Information on Eoin Ó Broin Zoom on Eoin Ó Broin asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government Information on Eoghan Murphy Zoom on Eoghan Murphy if the housing units funded through SHCEP for AHB build and acquisition units secured under an availability agreement are owned by the approved housing body, will be owned by the approved housing body at the end of the lease term or are and will remain in the ownership of a private third party. [44863/17]

Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government (Deputy Eoghan Murphy): Information on Eoghan Murphy Zoom on Eoghan Murphy I propose to take Questions Nos. 425 to 428, inclusive, together.

  The Social Housing Current Expenditure Programme (SHCEP) supports the delivery of social housing by providing financial support to local authorities and Approved Housing Bodies (AHBs) for the leasing of houses and apartments. There properties are either privately owned or owned by AHBs. Properties made available under the programme are used to accommodate households from local authority waiting lists.

  AHBs have a key role to play in the provision of high quality sustainable social housing. My Department, together with local authorities, can support AHBs to construct and purchase housing units and make them available for social housing with assistance using the Capital Advance Leasing Facility (CALF). These housing units are secured under long-term leases/ availability arrangements between local authorities and AHBs, the ongoing costs of which are recouped to local authorities by my Department under SHCEP. The CALF is a facility which is exclusively available to Approved Housing Bodies (AHBs) to assist them in accessing private or Housing Finance Agency (HFA) finance for the purchase, construction or refurbishment of units that will then be made available for social housing purposes under SHCEP. These properties will therefore be AHB owned and at the end of the Payment and Availability term it is anticipated that, given the nature of the AHB sector, the properties would remain in social housing.

  The additional units funded through SHCEP in each of the years 2014 to 2016 and to date in 2017 is set out in the following table. As units are not targeted for delivery under the NTMA/ISIF delivery stream until 2018, this category is not included.

Type of lease 2014 2015 2016 2017 (up to end Q3)
AHB/LA Lease (Private Owner) 626 652 574 413
AHB Acquired 303 349 283 318
AHB Build 16 43 283 216
NAMA/SPV Leases 120 433 218 258
Repair & Leasing - - - 0
Total 1,065 1,477 1,358 1,205


  The average length of leases of properties secured for funding under the SHCEP programme is outlined in the following table.
Type Average lease length
AHB/LA Lease (Private Owner) 10.5 years
AHB Acquired 27 years
AHB Build 28 years
NAMA/SPV Leases 20 years


  The termination provisions vary depending on the type of agreement concerned but in general terms, the position is as follows:

  - Where the local authority or AHB acts as the landlord to the tenant and is responsible for the management of the tenancy and the maintenance of the property, the lease term must be for a minimum of 10 years. Break clauses after 10 years may be negotiated as part of the lease agreement and the      property may be sold by the property owner during the term of the lease, on the condition that the lease agreement is transferred to the new owner and the local authority or AHB are notified in advance and consent to same.

  - Where the property owner acts as the landlord to the tenant and retains responsibility for the management of the tenancy and maintenance of the property, the terms of the Residential Tenancies Acts apply. Under this type of agreement, the tenant acquires the right to a Part 4 tenancy under the Residential Tenancies Act after 6 months and as such, the tenancy may not be terminated other than in accordance with section 34 of the Act.

Water and Sewerage Schemes Funding

 429. Deputy Tom Neville Information on Tom Neville Zoom on Tom Neville asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government Information on Eoghan Murphy Zoom on Eoghan Murphy when group water scheme subsidy funding will be made available to a group (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [44864/17]

Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government (Deputy Eoghan Murphy): Information on Eoghan Murphy Zoom on Eoghan Murphy My Department has devolved the administration of subsidy payments to Group Water Schemes to the local authorities, that being Kerry County Council in the case of the scheme in question. It is my understanding from enquiries made to Kerry County Council that an application by the scheme for subsidy payment is currently being examined and will be dealt with by the Council as quickly as possible.

Proposed Legislation

 430. Deputy Maurice Quinlivan Information on Maurice Quinlivan Zoom on Maurice Quinlivan asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government Information on Eoghan Murphy Zoom on Eoghan Murphy the status of the commercial rates Bill; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [44876/17]

Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government (Deputy Eoghan Murphy): Information on Eoghan Murphy Zoom on Eoghan Murphy 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 Acts 2001 to 2015. The levying and collection of rates are matters for each individual local authority.

Commercial rates form an important element of the funding of all local authorities. However, the legislative basis for the levying of rates is spread over a number of enactments, some dating back to the 19th century. Many of the provisions are outdated and not suitable for business trends in the modern era. My Department has developed legislative proposals to modernise and consolidate the legislation governing commercial rates.  The main issues being addressed in the General Scheme include the consolidation of over 20 separate pieces of legislation dealing with commercial rates into a single enactment; improved enforcement powers for local authorities to collect rates; provisions to allow the local authority to introduce rates alleviation schemes to support national and local policy objectives; and provisions for temporary abatement for vacant premises.

In this regard, the Government approved the drafting of a Rates Bill on 11 April 2017.  The General Scheme of the Bill has been submitted to the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Housing, Planning and Local Government and the Committee has been invited to undertake pre-legislative scrutiny on the proposals. 

Planning Guidelines

 431. Deputy Barry Cowen Information on Barry Cowen Zoom on Barry Cowen asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government Information on Eoghan Murphy Zoom on Eoghan Murphy the timeframe for departmental guidance on short-term letting planning permission and regulation requirements; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [45016/17]

Minister of State at the Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government (Deputy Damien English): Information on Damien English Zoom on Damien English As one of the actions under the Strategy for the Rental Sector, my Department established a Working Group of all the major public stakeholders with a policy interest in short-term letting to develop guidance in relation to planning applications and changes of use relating to short-term lettings and to examine the need for new regulatory arrangements.   

  The Working Group has recently completed the guidance for local authorities to assist them when considering planning applications relating to short-term lettings and my Department issued a circular in this regard to all local authorities on 23 October 2017.  A copy of the circular is available on my Department's website at the following link:

http://www.housing.gov.ie/sites/default/files/publications/files/circular_pl10_aph3_2017.pdf.

  I have asked the Working Group to also report to me later this year on the appropriate regulatory approach for short-term tourism-related lettings and on any necessary amendments to existing legislation that may be required.

National Emergency Plan

 432. Deputy Niall Collins Information on Niall Collins Zoom on Niall Collins asked the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar the annual funding allocated to the national Emergency co-ordination group in each of the years the 2010 to 2017, in tabular form; and the projected allocation for 2018. [44583/17]

Minister of State at the Department of Defence (Deputy Paul Kehoe): Information on Paul Kehoe Zoom on Paul Kehoe The National Emergency Coordination Centre (NECC) is located in Agriculture House. Its primary purpose is to provide a dedicated multifunctional facility in which ministers and/or senior officials convene to co-ordinate the response in the event of a major emergency or incident requiring a national-level response.  The NECC is activated in support of all emergencies which require a national-level response. Staff from the Office of Emergency Planning (civil and military) in the Department of Defence manage the Centre on an ongoing basis during such emergencies providing support to the Lead and other Departments. The centre is available to all departments with an emergency planning/management role and is regularly used outside of emergencies for meetings of the Government Task Force on Emergency Planning and associated subgroups along with being used for training and exercises. The National Emergency Coordination Group (NECG) is a generic group representative of all Government Departments and Agencies providing support to the Lead Government Department chairing the NECG. The NECG is activated in response to an emergency and when activated is chaired by the Department with lead responsibility in respect of the particular emergency. The NECG meets in the NECC. While there is no specific annual funding allocated to the National Emergency Coordination Group there is an annual funding budget for the Office of Emergency Planning which maintains the NECC and that is set out in the following table. This funding covers the operational, maintenance and training costs associated with running the National Emergency Coordination Centre, the annual ‘Be Winter Ready’ campaign and any costs attributed to meetings of the National Emergency Coordination Group (NECG).

YEAR BUDGET
2010 €400,000
2011 €410,000
2012 €400,000
2013 €365,000
2014 €365,000
2015 €500,000
2016 €500,000
2017 €500,000
2018 €500,000 (projected)

European Union Military Committee

 433. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan Information on Thomas P. Broughan Zoom on Thomas P. Broughan asked the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar if he will report on the nomination of the chief of staff of the Defence Forces to the position of chair of the European Union Military Committee; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [44596/17]

Minister of State at the Department of Defence (Deputy Paul Kehoe): Information on Paul Kehoe Zoom on Paul Kehoe Following last month’s approval by the Government, Vice Admiral Mark Mellett, Chief of Staff of the Irish Defence Forces was formally nominated on behalf of the Irish Government for election to the position of Chair of the European Union Military Committee (C/EUMC). The position of Chair of the EUMC will become vacant in November 2018 and Ireland’s nominee, Vice Admiral Mellett will line up for election alongside candidates from a number of other EU countries. The European Union Military Committee (EUMC) is the highest military body within the EU and was established by Council Decision 2001/79/CFSP of 22 January 2001. It is composed of the Chiefs of Defence (CHODs) of the Member States who, on a day to day basis, are represented in Brussels by the Military Representatives from the Permanent Representations of the member States. Ireland has participated in the EU Military Committee since its establishment.

Pursuant to Article 3(1) of Council Decision 2001/79/CFSP, setting up the Military Committee of the European Union , the Chairman of the Military Committee of the European Union is appointed by the Council on the recommendation of the EU Military Committee meeting at the level of the Chiefs of Defence. Accordingly, the next Chair of the European Union Military Committee (EUMC) will be selected by secret vote by the Chiefs of Defence of the EU Member States, at a meeting scheduled to take place next month in Brussels. On the basis of that vote, the Chair is then appointed by the European Council for a fixed period of three years.

The Defence (Amendment) Act, 2006, provides in section 3(1)(a) that, a contingent or member of the Permanent Defence Force may, with the prior approval of and on the authority of the Government, be despatched for service outside the State for the purposes of carrying out duties as a military representative or filling appointments or postings outside the State, including secondments to any international organisation. Pursuant to this provision, the Government, at its meeting of 19th September, 2017, decided to nominate Vice Admiral Mark Mellett, as Chair of the EU Military Committee, consistent with the provisions of the Defence Acts.

Following that approval, and on the authority of Government, Ireland’s nomination of Vice Admiral Mellett for election to the position of Chair of the European Union Military Committee was formally communicated when nominations opened. The nomination for appointment as Chair of the EU Military Committee further demonstrates Ireland’s ongoing commitment to remaining at the core of the EU’s Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP).

Chairmanship of the EUMC has no implications for Ireland’s traditional policy of military neutrality. Ireland already participates fully in the work of the Committee through our Military Representative in Brussels and the biannual meetings of EU Chiefs of Defence. The Deputy may wish to note that both Finland (2001-2004) and Sweden (2009-2012) have already held the position of Chair of the EUMC as neutral countries.

Ireland is one of the strongest contributors to CSDP operations and remains committed to all aspects of CSDP and to the role CSDP can play in UN mandated peacekeeping operations. It is the case that the UN has continually stressed the important role the EU can and does play in support of International Peace and Security. Should Vice Admiral Mellett be successful, it would help to reinforce the existing strategic relationship between the EU and the UN.


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