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Written Answers - Defence Forces Property

Thursday, 19 January 2012

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 752 No. 2

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 224.  Deputy Maureen O’Sullivan Information on Maureen O'Sullivan Zoom on Maureen O'Sullivan  asked the Minister for Defence Information on Alan Shatter Zoom on Alan Shatter  the number of residential units, originally intended for occupation by members of the Defence Forces, Garda Síochána or Prison Service that are currently subject to overholding, that is, that are occupied by former members or by the widowed spouses or other family members of former personnel; the number of overheld units located within military barracks and other institutions; the way liability for the household charge is to be determined on any overholding situation; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [3006/12]

Minister for Defence (Deputy Alan Shatter): Information on Alan Shatter Zoom on Alan Shatter There are 48 married quarters currently being occupied by overholders throughout the country — 34 in the Curragh Camp, 11 in Cathal Brugha Barracks Rathmines, 2 in Dublin 7 and 1 in Fort Templebreedy, Co Cork. 10 of the properties at Cathal Brugha Barracks are in the process of being sold to the current occupants. The number of quarters with overholders located within military barracks is 34 all of which are in the Curragh Camp. The charge for married quarters ranges from €36.90 to €70.67 per week for enlisted personnel and €411.22 to € 616.85 per month for officers. Overholders, if they are in receipt of a pension or gratuity pay an additional 10% on these charges which is deducted at source. There are some cases where there is no pension or gratuity and as a result it is not possible to deduct at source the relevant charge. In February 1997 the then Minister for Defence set out policy on married quarters on the basis that they were largely an anachronism and that they should be discontinued in a managed and orderly way. At that time there were 500 married quarters of which 380 were occupied.

In the intervening period over 150 quarters located outside of barracks have been sold to occupants while many more have been demolished or converted to other uses. As part of the [386]process of discontinuing the use of married quarters my Department will, in the near future, be addressing the remaining overholding issue. This will see a small number of people being granted continued occupancy of the properties for the remainder of their lives. In the other cases the Department will be beginning the process of seeking vacant possession of the properties. The first phase of this will involve those concerned being, yet again, made aware of their responsibility to vacate the quarters and advised of the need for them to make alternative arrangements. The Department will provide supporting material to those applying for Local Authority housing.

The Local Government (Household Charge) Act 2011 provides the legislative basis for the household charge. Under the Act an owner of a residential property is liable to the household charge. Under section 2 (2) (b) of the Act, a building vested in a Minister of the Government is not a residential property for the purposes of the Act and is not liable to the household charge.

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