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 Header Item Written Answers Nos. 271-280
 Header Item Local Authority Housing Provision
 Header Item Local Authority Housing Provision
 Header Item Household Charge Purpose
 Header Item Illegal Dumping
 Header Item Water Meters Installation
 Header Item Local Government Reform
 Header Item Garda Vetting Applications
 Header Item Personal Insolvency Act
 Header Item Coroners Service
 Header Item DNA Database

Tuesday, 7 May 2013

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 802 No. 1

First Page Previous Page Page of 89 Next Page Last Page

Written Answers Nos. 271-280

Local Authority Housing Provision

 271. 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 the criteria for rent increases by local authorities in the shared ownership scheme; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21339/13]

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 the shared ownership scheme a house is acquired by a local authority and leased to a shared owner, who purchases at least 40% of the value of the house and rents the remaining equity from the local authority. The local authority finances the transaction by borrowing from the Housing Finance Agency. The shared owner must purchase full ownership within 25 years. For transactions commenced on or after 1 January 2003, the annual rent is calculated at 4.3% of the value of the local authority equity and the rent is increased by a fixed 4.5% on 1 July each year. The rent is used to repay the cost of the local authority equity to the Housing Finance Agency and, depending on the level of mortgage interest rates obtaining, may also increase or decrease the capital outstanding on the local authority share at the end of each year. These arrangements represent a significant improvement on the previous terms of the scheme for the shared owner.

The rental formula applied under the scheme is not comparable to rents in the private rented sector, which are determined by the operation of the market. Therefore, movements in private sector rent levels would have no relevant bearing on the calculation of the rental element under shared ownership.

Local authority mortgage holders – including those who purchased under shared ownership – also benefit from extremely keenly priced interest rates which generally run at around 0.5% lower than the best rates available in the market.

The Government’s 2011 housing policy statement announced the standing down of all affordable housing schemes, including the shared ownership scheme, in the context of a full review of Part V of the Planning and Development Act 2000.

That review is now almost concluded and I have also asked the Housing and Sustainable Communities Agency to provide me with a standalone analysis of the shared ownership scheme, including identification of the main difficulties and recommendations for mitigating measures.

Any future changes to legislation governing affordable housing schemes, including the shared ownership scheme, will be made in the context of both pieces of work and I expect to make announcements in this regard in the near future.

Local Authority Housing Provision

 272. 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 the options available to a person in the shared ownership scheme when making a will in relation to the property; the options available to the benefactors of the will if the local authority holds equity in the house at the time of the death of the person; if the local authority can insist on the sale of the property or if a relative of the deceased person can live in the property by meeting the terms of the original agreement; and if he will make a statement on the matter.  [21340/13]

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 the shared ownership scheme a house is acquired by a local authority and leased to a shared owner, who purchases at least 40% of the value of the house and rents the remaining equity from the local authority. The local authority finances the transaction by borrowing from the Housing Finance Agency. The shared owner must purchase full ownership within 25 years.

The making of a will and subsequent issues pertaining thereto are matters for an individual’s legal advisors and I have no function in this regard.

The Government’s 2011 housing policy statement announced the standing down of all affordable housing schemes, including the shared ownership scheme, in the context of a full review of Part V of the Planning and Development Act 2000. That review is now almost concluded and I have also asked the Housing and Sustainable Communities Agency to provide me with a standalone analysis of the shared ownership scheme, including identification of the main difficulties and recommendations for mitigating measures.

Any future changes to legislation governing affordable housing schemes, including the shared ownership scheme, will be made in the context of both pieces of work and I expect to make announcements in this regard in the near future.

Household Charge Purpose

 273. Deputy Terence Flanagan Information on Terence Flanagan Zoom on Terence Flanagan asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government Information on Phil Hogan Zoom on Phil Hogan if he will respond to the following query regarding the distribution of moneys collected from the household charge (details supplied) in Dublin 13; and if he will make a statement on the matter.  [21352/13]

Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government (Deputy Phil Hogan): Information on Phil Hogan Zoom on Phil Hogan The Local Government Management Agency is administering the Household Charge system on a shared service/agency basis for all county and city councils. I am advised that, as of 2 May 2013, in excess of €12 5 m has been raised in respect of the Household Charge. The proceeds of the Charge are being re-distributed on an equalised basis to local authorities within the context of the annual allocations of general purpose grants.

Queries concerning local road maintenance programmes and the usage of general purpose grants should be directed to the relevant local authority, in this instance Fingal County Council. However, I am satisfied that in all local authorities, including Fingal, general purpose grants a re making an essential contribution to the funding of local services.

Illegal Dumping

 274. 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 further to Parliamentary Question No. 193 of 24 April 2013, if he will clarify if he intends to introduce legislation to assist local authorities with issuing fines for dumping in private developments; if his attention has been drawn to the fact that management companies have no authority or power to fine alleged offenders who are exploiting this loophole; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21388/13]

Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government (Deputy Phil Hogan): Information on Phil Hogan Zoom on Phil Hogan Under section 32(1A)(a) of the Waste Management Act 1996, it is the responsibility of the original waste producer or other waste holder to have waste collected, or to make appropriate arrangements for treatment, in accordance with the waste hierarchy.

In addition, section 35 of the 1996 Act provides that a local authority may make bye-laws requiring a holder of household waste to present such waste, specifying sorting measures, quantities, location, times and other relevant matters. As such, it is a role of the relevant local authority to regulate the presentation of waste for collection, in alignment with the national, regional and local policy framework, for all categories of dwelling.

Section 3 of the Litter Pollution Act makes it an offence for any person to deposit any substance or object so as to create litter in a public place or in any place that is visible to any extent from a public place. In addition, the section provides that it is an offence to deposit commercial, household, industrial or municipal waste in any place for collection by or on behalf of a local authority or by another person in such circumstances as to create litter or lead to litter in any public place or any place that is visible to any extent from a public place.

Penalties for more serious dumping offences provided for under the Waste Management Acts are substantial. Persons who are found to be responsible for, or involved in, the unauthorised disposal of waste are liable to a maximum fine of €3,000 on summary conviction and/or imprisonment for up to 12 months, and to a maximum fine of €15 million on conviction on indictment and/or imprisonment for up to 10 years.

Following a review of legislation in this area and notwithstanding the significant penalties currently in place, the Government recently approved proposals I brought forward for new legislative provisions to introduce on-the-spot fines for incidences of fly-tipping or small-scale illegal dumping. These new legislative provisions will now be submitted to the Office of the Parliamentary Counsel for drafting. While I will keep the legislation on this area under review, I currently have no proposals to introduce further legislation empowering private companies to impose fines.

Water Meters Installation

 275. Deputy Brendan Griffin Information on Brendan Griffin Zoom on Brendan Griffin asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government Information on Phil Hogan Zoom on Phil Hogan if the contract for the installation of water meters has been awarded in County Kerry; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21427/13]

Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government (Deputy Phil Hogan): Information on Phil Hogan Zoom on Phil Hogan I refer to the reply to Question No. 402 of 30 April 2013 which sets out the position in this matter.   

Local Government Reform

 276. Deputy Nicky McFadden Information on Nicky McFadden Zoom on Nicky McFadden 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 work being carried out by his Department to implement proposals for regional structures outlined in the Government's action programme on local government reform, including the rationalisation of ten regional bodies into three new regional assemblies; if eligibility for EU funding programmes will be maintained; and if he will make a statement on the matter.  [21531/13]

Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government (Deputy Phil Hogan): Information on Phil Hogan Zoom on Phil Hogan Wide-ranging and detailed legislation is required to provide for the range of measures set out in the Action Programme for Effective Local Government , including those relating to regional structures . Work on drafting the Local Government Bill 2013 is proceeding satisfactorily and I am firmly committed to ensuring that the Bill will be published in good time to enable enactment well ahead of the 2014 local elections. Responsibility in relation to EU funding programmes rests primarily with the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform.

Garda Vetting Applications

 277. Deputy Paudie Coffey Information on Paudie Coffey Zoom on Paudie Coffey asked the Minister for Justice and Equality Information on Alan Shatter Zoom on Alan Shatter when a Garda vetting clearance will be granted in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Waterford; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21122/13]

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Alan Shatter): Information on Alan Shatter Zoom on Alan Shatter I am informed by the Garda Authorities that no vetting application has been received in respect of the individual concerned. In the circumstances, I can only suggest that the person contacts the registered organisation involved.

Personal Insolvency Act

 278. Deputy Tom Hayes Information on Tom Hayes Zoom on Tom Hayes asked the Minister for Justice and Equality Information on Alan Shatter Zoom on Alan Shatter if a person and their spouse apply for insolvency, will entering into an insolvency agreement affect their spouse's qualified financial adviser qualification; and if it will affect other employment opportunities with AIB, Bank of Ireland or other State-owned banks or other companies.  [21206/13]

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Alan Shatter): Information on Alan Shatter Zoom on Alan Shatter The Personal Insolvency Act 2012 does not require that a person's employment be affected by entering into an insolvency arrangement. However, certain professions may be governed by bodies where personal finances may be subject to regulation requirements.

Therefore, it would not be appropriate for me to comment on the possible consequences of a person entering into an insolvency arrangement. It would, rather, be a matter for the relevant professional body and/or employer, as the case may be. I should also note that the specifics of individual cases whereby persons may be seeking an insolvency arrangement are a matter for the Insolvency Service of Ireland rather than for me as Minister.

Coroners Service

 279. Deputy Brendan Griffin Information on Brendan Griffin Zoom on Brendan Griffin asked the Minister for Justice and Equality Information on Alan Shatter Zoom on Alan Shatter if the results of a post mortem in respect of a person (details supplied) will be provided to their family without further delay; and if he will make a statement on the matter.  [21428/13]

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Alan Shatter): Information on Alan Shatter Zoom on Alan Shatter Under the Coroners Act, 1962, a Coroner is a statutory officer exercising quasi-judicial functions in relation to which he/she is independent and neither I nor my Department has any role in the coronial process. I understand that many factors influence the time it takes for post-mortem reports to be received by a Coroner from the pathologist concerned. In this particular case, I am advised that enquiries by the pathologist are ongoing in order to complete her report. The family in question should contact the Kerry North Coroner's Office directly, where they can request a preliminary report, and where they will be informed of any developments.

DNA Database

 280. Deputy Andrew Doyle Information on Andrew Doyle Zoom on Andrew Doyle asked the Minister for Justice and Equality Information on Alan Shatter Zoom on Alan Shatter the recent developments in the establishment of a DNA database; the date on which he expects legislation to be published regarding same; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21098/13]

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Alan Shatter): Information on Alan Shatter Zoom on Alan Shatter The Criminal Justice (Forensic Evidence and DNA Database System) Bill, which is included in the Government Legislation Programme for this term, will provide for the establishment of a DNA database to serve as a source of high quality intelligence for criminal investigations. Work on the preparation of the legislation is well advanced but has been delayed due to the need to address some complex European law issues. I expect to be in a position to publish the Bill in June and am determined that it will be enacted this year.


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