Houses of the Oireachtas

All parliamentary debates are now being published on our new website. The publication of debates on this website will cease in December 2018.

Go to oireachtas.ie

 Header Item Written Answers Nos. 783 to 807
 Header Item Property Taxation Collection
 Header Item Election Management System
 Header Item Ministerial Travel
 Header Item Local Authority Housing Provision
 Header Item Unfinished Housing Developments
 Header Item Water Services Provision
 Header Item Fire Stations Provision
 Header Item Building Regulations Amendments
 Header Item Non-Principal Private Residence Charge Exemptions
 Header Item Noise Pollution
 Header Item Departmental Funding
 Header Item Urban Trees and Hedges
 Header Item Fire Service
 Header Item Compulsory Purchase Orders
 Header Item Social and Affordable Housing Provision
 Header Item Waste Management

Tuesday, 16 April 2013

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 799 No. 1

First Page Previous Page Page of 109 Next Page Last Page

Written Answers Nos. 783 to 807

  Question No. 783 answered with Question No. 759.

Property Taxation Collection

 784. Deputy Mattie McGrath Information on Mattie McGrath Zoom on Mattie McGrath asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government Information on Phil Hogan Zoom on Phil Hogan if the non-principal private residency charge will be abolished following the introduction of the local property tax in view of the fact that it represents a double taxation; and if he will make a statement on the matter.  [16517/13]

Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government (Deputy Phil Hogan): Information on Phil Hogan Zoom on Phil Hogan The Local Property Tax is being introduced on a half year basis this year and accordingly, 50% of the Tax is payable in 2013. This year will also be the final year of the operation of the Non-Principal Private Residence Charge.

Election Management System

 785. Deputy Pearse Doherty Information on Pearse Doherty Zoom on Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government Information on Phil Hogan Zoom on Phil Hogan following the recent by-election in Meath East, the steps he took to reserving polling station and count staff positions for those on the live register where practicable; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [16596/13]

 786. Deputy Pearse Doherty Information on Pearse Doherty Zoom on Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government Information on Phil Hogan Zoom on Phil Hogan following the recent by-election in Meath East, if he will outline the requirements in respect of the advertising of polling station and count staff positions in advance of each election; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [16597/13]

 787. Deputy Pearse Doherty Information on Pearse Doherty Zoom on Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government Information on Phil Hogan Zoom on Phil Hogan following the recent by-election in Meath East, the number of the persons employed in the following roles in the by-election who were immediately previously unemployed or on the live register: Special Presiding Officers, Presiding Officers, Supervisory Presiding Officers and Area Inspectors, Poll Clerks, Count Supervisors, Count Calculators and Counters. [16598/13]

 788. Deputy Pearse Doherty Information on Pearse Doherty Zoom on Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government Information on Phil Hogan Zoom on Phil Hogan following the recent by-election in Meath East, if he will provide the number of the persons employed in the following roles in the by-election, and the average remuneration provided: Special Presiding Officers, Presiding Officers, Supervisory Presiding Officers and Area Inspectors, Poll Clerks, Count Supervisors, Count Calculators and Counters. [16599/13]

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. 785 to 788, inclusive, together.

The primary role of my Department in electoral matters is to provide an appropriate policy and legislative framework for a modern and efficient electoral system. Within that framework, local returning officers are responsible for all matters in connection with the actual conduct of elections and referendums, including the selection and appointment of polling station and count staff in accordance with the relevant provisions of electoral law. Accordingly, there is no information in my Department about the staff employed at the recent Meath East bye-election. Information regarding the remuneration of those employed at the bye-election is set out in the Returning Officer’s Charges Order made by the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform.

The guidance issued by my Department to returning officers in advance of each election and referendum, including the Meath East bye-election, emphasises that the smooth conduct of polls is dependent on maintaining a cadre of sufficiently skilled and experienced people. Having regard to that overall objective, returning officers are advised to employ competent and efficient persons as polling staff and asked to give consideration, where possible, to employing suitable persons who are unemployed.

In addition, at my request, my Department wrote to each Returning Officer on 4 October 2012, advising that, wherever practicable, the opportunity should be taken to employ unemployed persons at polling stations and in carrying out the subsequent counting of votes at elections and referendums so as to provide opportunity for work experience to unemployed persons. I believe that this should apply particularly in relation to the Polling Clerk position, where the responsibilities of the post can be fulfilled under the guidance of the Presiding Officer.

Ministerial Travel

 789. Deputy Sandra McLellan Information on Sandra McLellan Zoom on Sandra McLellan asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government Information on Phil Hogan Zoom on Phil Hogan the cost incurred by his Department, in respect of this year’s overseas travel programme for St Patrick’s Day; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [16606/13]

Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government (Deputy Phil Hogan): Information on Phil Hogan Zoom on Phil Hogan The Minister of State in my Department, Jan O’Sullivan, represented the Government in Saudi Arabia for St. Patrick’s Day. The total cost incurred by my Department in respect of Minister of State O’Sullivan’s visit amounts to € 3,365.27 to date, including the cost for the official accompanying her.

Local Authority Housing Provision

 790. 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 he will provide an update on when he will sign off on the new housing scheme of lettings for Dublin City Council. [16624/13]

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 Under section 22 of the Housing (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 2009, which came into operation on 14 June 2010, the making and amendment of an allocation scheme for social housing is a reserved function of the elected members of each housing authority.

  Question No. 791 answered with Question No. 768.

Unfinished Housing Developments

 792. Deputy Mattie McGrath Information on Mattie McGrath Zoom on Mattie McGrath asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government Information on Phil Hogan Zoom on Phil Hogan if all unfinished housing estates that are not exempt from the local property tax will now be taken in charge by their relevant local authorities; if public lighting, finished roads and so on will now be provided in these estates; if not, the services that will be provided to these estates; if no extra services will be provided, the reason these estates are not exempt from the local property tax in view of the fact that they are not receiving any public services; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [16651/13]

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 An exemption from the local property tax applies to those unfinished housing developments listed in the schedule to the Finance (Local Property Tax) Regulations 2013.

Section 180 of the Planning and Development Act, 2000 applies to estates which have been granted planning permission and includes the construction of two or more houses (which as defined in the Act includes apartments) and the provision of new roads, open spaces, car parks, sewers, water mains or drains.

In relation to estates which have been completed to the satisfaction of the planning authority in accordance with the permission, section 180 provides that the planning authority must, if requested to do so by the developer or by the majority of the qualified electors who are owners of the houses involved, initiate the procedures in section 11 of the Roads Act 1993 for declaring the road(s) to be public roads, for whose maintenance the local authority will then be responsible.

Section 11 of the Roads Act empowers a local authority to, by order, declare any road over which a public right of way exists to be a public road. Before making an order the local authority must be satisfied the road is of general public utility, consider the financial implications of taking the road in charge and consult with the public/consider any objections received. The consideration of the objections and the making of the order declaring the road to be a public road is a reserved function, so that the decision whether to take the road in charge is ultimately one for the discretion of the elected members.

In relation to estates which have not been completed to the satisfaction of the planning authority, and where enforcement proceedings have not been commenced within the relevant period, section 180 also provides that the planning authority must, if requested to do so by the majority of the owners, initiate the procedures in section 11 of the Roads Act. However, in this case the section provides that the provision in section 11 of the Roads Act requiring the authority to consider the financial implications of taking the road in charge is to be disregarded.

Section 180 also provides that where a planning authority, in complying with section 180, makes an order under section 11 of the Roads Act, it must also take in charge any open spaces, car parks, sewers, water mains, or drains within the attendant grounds of the development.

Section 180 was amended in the Planning and Development (Amendment) Act 2010 to provide that a planning authority may take in charge an unfinished estate, at the request of the owners of the housing units, at any time after the expiration of the planning permission in situations where enforcement actions have commenced or where the planning authority consider that enforcement action will not result in the satisfactory completion of the estate by the developer. Planning authorities have also been empowered to take in charge part of an estate or some, but not all, of the facilities in an estate.

Water Services Provision

 793. 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 in view of the state of water supplies for Dublin City, the steps he has taken to ensure that the deteoriating Vartry tunnel is refurbished to ensure continuity of supply in the future; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [16687/13]

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 water services infrastructure is a matter for the relevant water services authority, in this case Dublin City Council.

In 2007, my Department approved Dublin City Council’s Preliminary Report which recommended the replacement of the existing Vartry Tunnel with a new 4km tunnel from the Vartry Waterworks to Callowhill. The project is included in the Water Services Investment Programme 2010 - 2013 as a project to advance through planning. My Department has approved funding to allow this planning work to proceed and is awaiting submission by Dublin City Council of contract documents to enable the scheme to proceed to construction. 

  Questions Nos. 794 and 795 answered with Question No. 759.

Fire Stations Provision

 796. Deputy Michelle Mulherin Information on Michelle Mulherin Zoom on Michelle Mulherin asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government Information on Phil Hogan Zoom on Phil Hogan if he will prioritise the approval to Mayo County Council to tender for a new Fire Station in Crossmolina for which a site has been acquired on the basis of the revised design documents which were submitted to his Department in 2009; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [16735/13]

Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government (Deputy Phil Hogan): Information on Phil Hogan Zoom on Phil Hogan The provision of a fire service in its functional area, including the establishment and maintenance of a fire brigade, the assessment of fire cover needs, the provision of a premises and the making of such other provisions as it considers necessary or desirable, is a statutory function of individual fire authorities under the provisions of the Fire Services Act 1981 and 2003.

My Department supports fire authorities through the setting of general policy and guidance and the provision of capital funding, including the recoupment (within the overall funding available) of costs incurred by fire authorities in relation to approved construction projects and the purchase of fire appliances and equipment. The current national priority for capital funding is supporting the fire appliance fleet. In this regard, Mayo Fire Service was allocated a new appliance ordered under a joint-procurement initiative, and which is due to be delivered during 2013.

Approval-in-principle was announced under the 2007 Capital Programme for a new fire station at Crossmolina, at an estimated cost of €1 million, and Mayo County Council has submitted an updated cost plan and contract documents for approval to proceed to the next stage of development.

Given the constraints on public finances it has been necessary, in keeping with other reductions, to reduce the fire service capital allocations over recent years, including 2013. Accordingly, in light of these constraints, my Department is not in a position at present to fund the significant investment required to progress new projects, including Crossmolina, to the next stage.

The provision of funding to bring proposed projects to construction stage will be considered under future capital programmes within the constraints of available resources, and will have regard to fire authorities’ priorities, the spread of existing facilities and the totality of requests from fire authorities for available funding.

Building Regulations Amendments

 797. Deputy Robert Dowds Information on Robert Dowds Zoom on Robert Dowds asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government Information on Phil Hogan Zoom on Phil Hogan if he intends to amend the Building Control Regulations to provide for the physical inspection of a new building to ensure that it has been built according to the plans for which a fire safety certificate was issued; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [16742/13]

Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government (Deputy Phil Hogan): Information on Phil Hogan Zoom on Phil Hogan The Building Control (Amendment) Regulations 2013, which I signed in to law on 8 March 2013, will come into effect on and from 1 March 2014. The new regulations will strengthen the current arrangements for the control of building activity by requiring the following in relation to all significant building works: (a) drawings and particulars used for the purposes of construction to be submitted to the local building control authority; (b) design to be undertaken and certified by competent professionals prior to works commencing; (c) owners to formally assign a competent builder to undertake and certify the works; (d) owners to formally assign a registered professional (to be known as the ‘Assigned Certifier’) who will be tasked with (i) preparing an appropriate inspection plan for the building or works during construction (ii) carrying out inspections and overseeing inspection works by other parties in accordance with the inspection plan and (iii) certifying the works for compliance with the building regulations on completion; (e) statutory certificates of compliance from designers, builders and assigned certifiers to confirm compliance with the requirements of the Building Regulations - including the requirements in relation to Part B (Fire Safety) of the Building Regulations - and accepting legal responsibility for their work.

I am satisfied that the reforms now provided for, including the lodgement of drawings, inspection by registered professionals and statutory certification will result in the necessary improvement in the quality of buildings and ensure that homeowners in particular are delivered the quality of homes they expect and deserve.

  Questions Nos. 798 answered with Question No. 768.

Non-Principal Private Residence Charge Exemptions

 799. Deputy Joe McHugh Information on Joe McHugh Zoom on Joe McHugh asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government Information on Phil Hogan Zoom on Phil Hogan with reference to the non-principal private residence charge, if he will advise a person (details supplied) who has moved to Great Britain where he is now working and who now faces a bill that includes arrears; and if he will make a statement on the matter.  [16758/13]

 815. Deputy Arthur Spring Information on Arthur Spring Zoom on Arthur Spring asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government Information on Phil Hogan Zoom on Phil Hogan if an exemption can be provided in respect of a person (details supplied) from accumulated non-principal private residency penalties and charges due to the fact that the person was unaware of the NPPR charge having lived out of the country for a period of twenty years.  [16970/13]

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. 799 and 815 together.

The Local Government (Charges) Act 2009, as amended, broadened the revenue base of local authorities by introducing a charge on non-principal private residences. The Charge is set at €200 and liability for it falls, in the main, on owners of rental, holiday and vacant properties. It is a matter for an owner, whether resident in Ireland or elsewhere, to determine if he or she has a liability and, if so, to declare that liability and pay the Charge.

A residential property not in use by an owner as his or her sole or main residence is liable for the Charge. This may not necessarily be a second home; a person may have vacated a property and be living in rented accommodation elsewhere for work or other reasons and in such a case, the property that the owner is no longer living in is liable for the Charge, even if it is the only residential property that person owns.

Under the Act, it is a function of a local authority to collect the Non-Principal Private Residence Charge and late payment fees due to it, and all charges and late payment fees imposed and payable to a local authority are under the care and management of the local authority concerned. In this regard, application of the legislation in particular circumstances is a matter for the relevant local authority. Guidelines have issued to local authorities in relation to the operation of the “care and management” provisions of the Local Government (Charges) Act 2009 and local authorities are expected to implement these guidelines appropriately.

Noise Pollution

 800. 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 a noise pollution issue in respect of a person (details supplied) in Dublin 3. [16764/13]

Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government (Deputy Phil Hogan): Information on Phil Hogan Zoom on Phil Hogan Currently, a person experiencing noise nuisance may under the Noise Regulations 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.

  The position in regard to tenants is that landlords are responsible for enforcing the obligations that apply to their tenants under the Residential Tenancies Act 2004. In this regard, the Act prohibits anti-social behaviour in, or in the vicinity of a dwelling to which the Act applies and allows a landlord to terminate any tenancy where the tenant is engaging in or allowing other occupiers of, or visitors to, the dwelling to engage in such behaviour, subject to a notice period of only seven days in the case of serious anti-social behaviour. Under Section 15 of the Act, ‘a landlord of a dwelling owes to each person, who could be potentially affected, a duty to enforce the obligations of the tenant under the tenancy’.

  Section 77 of the Act gives a right to refer a complaint to the Private Residential Tenancies Board (PRTB), subject to certain conditions. The PRTB may furnish, to a person who proposes to make such a complaint, the name and address of the landlord concerned. This again is subject to certain conditions.

  The PRTB website address is www.prtb.ie, and contact may be made with the PRTB either by telephone at 0818 30 30 37 or by post to Private Residential Tenancies Board, PO Box 47, Clonakilty, County Cork.

Departmental Funding

 801. Deputy Dara Calleary Information on Dara Calleary Zoom on Dara Calleary asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government Information on Phil Hogan Zoom on Phil Hogan the funding assistance, if any, available to local housing associations and-or community groups who propose to take over unfinished housing estates within their community with a view to providing social housing and community amenity areas; if he will outline the application process; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [16765/13]

 811. Deputy Anthony Lawlor Information on Anthony Lawlor Zoom on Anthony Lawlor asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government Information on Phil Hogan Zoom on Phil Hogan if plans are in place to increase the €5 million fund which is available from his Department to address public safety issues which arise in category four classed unfinished housing estates; if he intends to extend this fund in order to complete public infrastructure in category B estates; the way his Department intends to deal with the issue of unfinished housing estates here; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [16914/13]

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 propose to take Questions Nos. 801 and 811 together.

I am chairing the National Co-ordination Committee on Unfinished Housing Developments to oversee implementation of the Report of the Advisory Group on Unfinished Housing Developments, together with the Government’s response to the recommendations. The Committee includes representatives from the Irish Banking Federation, local authorities, the Housing and Sustainable Communities Agency, NAMA and the construction sector. Real progress is being made with regard to the public safety works required to improve the living conditions of existing residents on some unfinished estates and the Committee is meeting on a regular basis to oversee this effort. Under the Public Safety Initiative for Unfinished Housing Developments my Department has made allocations totalling some €3.877 million to 21 local authorities from the funding made available to address immediate public safety issues. The types of works that have been approved to date include the fencing off of unsecured and hazardous areas, capping of pipes, installation of street lighting and other works to secure sites. To date, a total of €2.515 million has been drawn down by local authorities. It is not considered necessary to allocate any additional funding to this scheme at this time as the funds currently available are adequate to service this initiative.

This funding is targeted at those developments where a developer has abandoned the development and serious public safety concerns exist. In circumstances where a developer is still active it is the responsibility of the local authority planning department to pursue the developer for completion of the development in line with the terms of the original planning permission. Similarly, where a developer is inactive but still in place the enforcement of the planning conditions is a matter for the relevant planning authority.

Under the Capital Advance Leasing Facility, the facility also exists whereby a repayable advance to Approved Housing Bodies (AHBs) can facilitate such bodies in the acquisition and, if necessary, completion of housing units which would be made available for social housing purposes. These can include housing units in unfinished housing developments. It is open to interested AHBs to make an application to my Department in this regard.

Urban Trees and Hedges

 802. Deputy Aodhán Ó Ríordáin Information on Aodhán Ó Ríordáin Zoom on Aodhán Ó Ríordáin asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government Information on Phil Hogan Zoom on Phil Hogan if there are laws on the size and height of trees and hedges in urban areas; and if there is a complaints process for citizens who feel their light and stability of walled structures are threatened by trees owned by neighbours. [16766/13]

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 There is no legislation in Ireland regulating the height of trees and hedges. My Department understands that there is no right in Irish law to receive light in a garden and that, while there is a civil remedy of nuisance available in respect of the branches or roots of a neighbour’s tree encroaching on one’s property, there is no civil law remedy in respect of the loss of light in a garden due to a neighbour’s high trees or hedges.

While I have no plans to introduce legislation on this matter I wrote to my colleague the Minister for Justice and Law Reform suggesting that we might give consideration to potential alternative options towards the introduction of a civil remedy in this matter. I am currently considering his reply.

Fire Service

 803. Deputy John Lyons Information on John Lyons Zoom on John Lyons asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government Information on Phil Hogan Zoom on Phil Hogan his plans to examine equipping fire-fighters with personal safety devices like mace or pepper spray; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [16838/13]

 809. 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 the steps that his Department has initiated and adopted to ensure the personal safety of fire-fighters and paramedics working in sometimes hazardous and dangerous conditions; if his attention has been drawn to the number of such personnel that have been attacked while on duty; and his plans to implement any further initiatives to ensure that such frontline workers are protected. [16900/13]

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. 803 and 809 together.

  The provision of a fire service in its functional area, including the establishment and maintenance of a fire brigade, the assessment of fire cover needs and the provision of premises and equipment for use by fire service personnel is a matter for the individual fire authorities under Section 10 of the Fire Services Act 1981 and 2003.

  My Department, through the National Directorate for Fire and Emergency Management, engages on an on-going basis with fire authorities to assist them in meeting their statutory responsibilities while also complying with the requirements of the Safety Health and Welfare at Work Act 2005.

  There have been a number of initiatives to ensure that persons working in fire services are properly equipped and trained, have appropriate procedures and are supervised so that, in so far as is reasonably practicable, their safety at work is ensured and that local authorities comply with the relevant legislative requirements. Initiatives taken have included the introduction into fire service operations of the National Incident Command System in 2007; the Fire Services Ancillary Safety Statement, also from 2007, which developed generic risk assessment processes for fire services; and more recently the Fire Service Standard Operational Guidance (SOGs), which developed specific situational risk assessments for fire services activities.

  Also, as part of the national policies for the future direction of fire services set out in Keeping Communities Safe (KCS), which was published in February 2013. A Fire Services Safety Management System (SMS) support document is being developed as part of the KCS implementation process to ensure that occupational health and safety in fire services is fully aligned with recently adopted local government SMS policy.

  Specific legislation dealing with assaults on, or threats to, emergency workers in front line positions is contained in section 19 of the Criminal Justice (Public Order) Act 1994 (as amended by section 185 of the Criminal Justice Act 2006). Section 19 provides that any person who assaults a person providing medical services at or in a hospital, or a peace officer acting in the execution of their duty, is guilty of an offence and is liable on summary conviction to a fine or a term of imprisonment not exceeding 12 months or both or on conviction on indictment to a fine or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 7 years or to both. A peace officer refers to a member of An Garda Síochána, a prison officer, a member of the fire brigade, ambulance personnel or a member of the defence forces. The offences in section 19 were extended to hospital, ambulance and fire brigade personnel by means of section 185 of the Criminal Justice Act 2006 in order to address the problem of assaults and obstruction of personnel engaged in providing emergency services.

  In addition to the special offences under section 19 of the 1994 Act, the general criminal law applies. For example, in the case of an assault causing serious harm to an emergency worker, the offender may be prosecuted under the Non-Fatal Offences Against the Person Act 1997.

  Personal safety devices in the nature of mace or pepper spray are subject to the Firearms Act 1925 to 2009. Under section 1 of the Firearms Act 1925, as amended by section 26 of the Criminal Justice Act 2006, the definition of "firearm" includes a "prohibited weapon" which refers inter alia to "any weapon of whatever description designed for the discharge of any noxious liquid, noxious gas or other noxious thing". Under section 2 of the 1925 Act, it is an offence to possess, use, or carry a firearm unless it is authorised by a firearms certificate. While An Garda Síochána and the Defences Forces are generally considered exempt from the Firearms Acts (with regard to the licensing for their use and import) there is no such corresponding provision for fire brigade, ambulance or medical personnel. The issue of firearms certificates is a matter for An Garda Síochána.

  Question No. 804 answered with Question No. 782.

Compulsory Purchase Orders

 805. 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 he has received a copy of the report he commissioned to be carried out into the purchase of land at Three Trouts in Greystones, County Wicklow by Wicklow County Council; if so, when he intends to publish the report; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [16873/13]

Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government (Deputy Phil Hogan): Information on Phil Hogan Zoom on Phil Hogan I appointed Mr Seamus Woulfe SC to carry out an independent review of the compulsory acquisition of land at Charlesland, County Wicklow, by Wicklow County Council following representations made by three Wicklow county councillors. I have received Mr. Woulfe’s report. I intend shortly to send the report to Wicklow County Council and the three county councillors who made the representations and to make the report available publicly. This report follows from a review carried out last year by Mr. Woulfe into the management by my Department of an application by Wicklow County Council for loan approval in respect of the above mentioned compulsory purchase following representations made by the councillors in regard to my Department. The report fully exonerated my Department.

Social and Affordable Housing Provision

 806. 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 the number of social and affordable houses that were provided as part of development conditions where a developer had to build social and affordable housing or contribute to the cost of such in order to receive permission to develop private housing from its introduction in law to the present; if he will provide a breakdown of these numbers by local authority; the number of such houses that were due to be built and remain not built; the actions that should be taken to pursue this liability; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [16874/13]

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 A range of statistical information on the numbers of social and affordable housing units provided by local authorities can be found on my Department’s website at www.environ.ie.

My Department has issued guidance to local authorities on the handling of conditions in respect of Part V of the Planning and Development Act 2000 on a number of occasions, regarding inter alia the use of Part V funding and lands, the sale of affordable housing units, measures to deal with unsold affordable housing units and options available to comply with Part V requirements.

  While my Department has advised local authorities to seek to discharge Part V obligations through mechanisms that place no additional funding pressures on the authorities the working out of these obligations is ultimately a matter for individual local authorities to pursue having regard to the legislation.

Waste Management

 807. Deputy Brendan Smith Information on Brendan Smith Zoom on Brendan Smith asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government Information on Phil Hogan Zoom on Phil Hogan if he is considering introducing a national waste management bin collection waiver for senior citizens and low income families, as many senior citizens and low income families do not have the sufficient financial resources to meet additional household payments; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [16885/13]

Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government (Deputy Phil Hogan): Information on Phil Hogan Zoom on Phil Hogan The Government’s new waste policy, A Resource Opportunity - Waste Management Policy in Ireland, was published in July 2012. Among the measures included in the policy is the establishment of an interdepartmental working group to report to Government with options to minimise the impact of waste charges on low income households. The working group, which comprises representatives of my Department and the Departments of Social Protection; Public Expenditure and Reform; Finance; and the Tánaiste's Office, submitted its first report to Government on 11 December 2012.  Government considered the report and the working group is to continue to examine the design and implementation of measures to address the issue and will provide a further report to Government in the coming weeks.

  Another measure of the Government’s waste policy is the revision of the current regulatory regime, to ensure, inter alia. that waste collection providers have Customer Charters in place. The Customer Charters will be required clearly to set out information for customers in relation to issues such as charging structures, procedures for dealing with customers who may fall into arrears and arrangements for switching from one waste collector to another.  I wrote to the waste management industry in September and October, 2012 in relation to the development of such charters and I understand that a number of waste collection providers have already put in place a Customer Charter ahead of the development of the new regulatory regime. I further understand that a number of waste collection operators have notified former local authority customers of the offers and discounts available to those previously in receipt of a local authority waste collection waiver.


Last Updated: 29/04/2020 08:23:01 First Page Previous Page Page of 109 Next Page Last Page