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 Header Item Written Answers Nos 133-139
 Header Item Warmer Homes Scheme Applications
 Header Item Departmental Reports
 Header Item Recreational Angling Sector Data
 Header Item Warmer Homes Scheme Data
 Header Item Non-Principal Private Residence Charge Administration
 Header Item NAMA Social Housing Provision
 Header Item Leader Programmes Expenditure

Wednesday, 12 June 2013

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 806 No. 2

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Written Answers Nos 133-139

Warmer Homes Scheme Applications

 133. Deputy Dara Calleary Information on Dara Calleary Zoom on Dara Calleary asked the Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources Information on Pat Rabbitte Zoom on Pat Rabbitte if his Department will honour an application made by a person who was in receipt of fuel allowance at the time of applying for inclusion on the Warmer Homes scheme but was not in receipt of fuel allowance by the time the provider of the scheme processed their application, in view of the fact that the delay in processing the application was not the fault of the applicant; and if he will make a statement on the matter.  [28366/13]

Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources (Deputy Pat Rabbitte): Information on Pat Rabbitte Zoom on Pat Rabbitte The Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI) administers the Better Energy Warmer Homes scheme under the Better Energy Programme. The Better Energy Warmer Homes scheme delivers a range of energy efficiency measures to households that are vulnerable to energy poverty.

The SEAI maintains a live database of applicants who apply to be considered for the Better Energy Warmer Homes scheme. No pre-checks on the qualifying criteria are carried out at this point. Applicants are sent a letter confirming that they are on the waiting list, informing them of the qualifying criteria and notifying them that these criteria will be verified at the point of survey. If any applicant, at the point of survey, is not in a position to verify they meet the qualifying criteria, their application is cancelled. No applicant has any guarantee of service delivery unless a survey verifies that works are technically possible and that the homeowner qualifies for the services at the time of survey.

The SEAI has advised that the applicant in question applied to the Better Energy Warmer Homes Scheme in late April 2013 (they have no record of a 2012 application), with the house surveyed in early June 2013. At this point, the applicant failed to provide proof of eligibility resulting in his application being cancelled. However, if the applicant is indeed eligible for the scheme, the SEAI is happy to accept proof of eligibility. On foot of receipt of this information, arrangements to install the appropriate energy efficiency measures will be put in train.

In view of the above, if the applicant would like to submit proof of eligibility or requires any other information regarding the scheme, he should call the Better Energy Warmer Homes Helpdesk at 1800 250 204.

Departmental Reports

 134. Deputy Sean Fleming Information on Seán Fleming Zoom on Seán Fleming asked the Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources Information on Pat Rabbitte Zoom on Pat Rabbitte if he will set out the value for money reports and the focused policy assessments carried out within his Department since March 2011; the actions that have been taken to implement such reports; and if he will make a statement on the matter.  [28170/13]

Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources (Deputy Pat Rabbitte): Information on Pat Rabbitte Zoom on Pat Rabbitte Value for Money and Policy Reviews are designed to secure improved value for money from public expenditure by providing systematic analysis of expenditure programmes and policies to provide a basis on which more informed decisions can be made on priorities within and between programmes.

My Department has completed a number of Value for Money and Policy Reviews since March 2011, publishing two initial reviews on proposed mergers of bodies under the aegis of the Department (Broadcasting Authority of Ireland with ComReg, and Digital Hub Development Agency with Dublin City Council), and participated in a review of merger of the Ordnance Survey of Ireland, the Property Registration Authority and Valuation office, which has been led by the Department of Justice and Equality and is published on its website.

My Department also carried out a Value for Money Review on the proposal to introduce a Public Service Broadcasting (PSB) Household Charge. The independently chaired Review Group, which was established under the auspices of my Department, considered a range of issues in relation to the proposal, including the efficiency and effectiveness of the current licensing system. The Group's report has been submitted to me recently and I am now considering its findings in the context of the next steps to be taken in regard to introduction of the PSB Charge. I expect to be in a position, subject to Government approval, to initiate work in the autumn on the legislative and other work necessary to implement the household based Public Broadcasting Charge.

Recreational Angling Sector Data

 135. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan Information on Thomas P. Broughan Zoom on Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources Information on Pat Rabbitte Zoom on Pat Rabbitte if he will provide a detailed breakdown between sea angling, coarse angling and game angling in terms of the number of the general public and visitors who have taken part in these activities in each of the past five years; and if he will report on the amount of revenue generated for the Exchequer from each activity. [28342/13]

Minister of State at the Department of the Environment, Community and Local Government (Deputy Fergus O'Dowd): Information on Fergus O'Dowd Zoom on Fergus O'Dowd I can advise the Deputy that it is intended to publish, in the coming weeks, the results of the most comprehensive National survey and analysis ever undertaken of the Recreational Angling Sector.

I am advised by Inland Fisheries Ireland (IFI), who commissioned the study, that while it is being finalised, the initial results indicate that there are 406,000 participants in angling across all species types with many targeting more than one species.

The Angling sector is generating direct revenues in excess of €500 million per annum the vast majority of which is retained in the localised communities where the activity occurs. The economic importance of the sector is underlined by the fact that it sustainably supports more than 10,000 jobs in rural and peripheral communities particularly in the West of Ireland.

I will arrange to have the completed study forwarded to the Deputy as soon as it is available.

Warmer Homes Scheme Data

 136. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan Information on Thomas P. Broughan Zoom on Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources Information on Pat Rabbitte Zoom on Pat Rabbitte the number of applicants who have applied for the warmer homes schemes to date in 2013; and if he will provide a breakdown of the number of applications which have been approved, refused and those which are pending.  [28343/13]

Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources (Deputy Pat Rabbitte): Information on Pat Rabbitte Zoom on Pat Rabbitte The Better Energy Warmer Homes scheme is administered by the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI) under the Better Energy Programme. Warmer Homes provides a range of energy efficiency measures to households that are vulnerable to energy poverty.

The SEAI has received 5,445 applications for the Better Energy Warmer Homes Scheme to date in 2013. Of these, 1,217 homes have been completed, 776 have been found to be ineligible or have been cancelled, while the remainder are on the waiting list.

Non-Principal Private Residence Charge Administration

 137. Deputy Sean Fleming Information on Seán Fleming Zoom on Seán Fleming asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government Information on Phil Hogan Zoom on Phil Hogan whether the non-principal private residence tax is payable for 2013; if it will continue, and when it will end; whether it is payable in respect of the same properties for which the local property tax is payable this year; and if he will make a statement on the matter.  [28216/13]

 140. Deputy Sean Fleming Information on Seán Fleming Zoom on Seán Fleming asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney  140. Deputy Sean Fleming asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government whether the non-principal private residence tax is payable for 2013; if it will continue, and when it will end; whether it is payable in respect of the same properties for which the local property tax is payable this year; and if he will make a statement on the matter.  [28137/13]

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. 137 and 140 together.

The Local Property Tax is being introduced on a half year basis this year and accordingly 50% of the Tax is payable in 2013. The Local Property Tax and Non Principal Private Residence Charge operate quite differently in many respects ; however, in general, those properties which are liable for the Charge will also be liable for the Tax. The amount of Local Property Tax incurred in respect of a liable property is based on that property’s value, while the Non Principal Private Residence Charge is incurred on the basis of a flat rate of €200 per liable property per annum. Therefore, it is not appropriate to assume equivalence between the Charge and the Tax. This year will be the final year of the operation of the Non Principal Private Residence Charge.

NAMA Social Housing Provision

 138. Deputy Barry Cowen Information on Barry Cowen Zoom on Barry Cowen asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government Information on Phil Hogan Zoom on Phil Hogan if he will provide a breakdown by county of the number of properties identified by the National Asset Management Agency for social housing provision; the number accepted as suitable by local authorities; the number transferred from NAMA to the local authority or housing association to date; and if he will make a statement on the matter.  [28196/13]

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 To the end of Quarter 1 2013, the transition of 263 properties from the NAMA portfolio has been completed, with contracts signed in respect of a further 76 properties. All but 24 of the 263 completed units are being made available for people deemed by the local authorities to be in need of housing. These 24 units were part of a project of 58 apartments delivered in Sandyford with the other 34 apartments delivered for social housing use. Units are delivered in a number of ways with some purchased directly by local authorities and approved housing bodies while others are acquired under lease arrangements.

  The 76 contracted properties are units where a local authority or approved housing body has signed legal contracts to take possession of properties once fitting out or other works have been completed. These works are ongoing. The 239 properties delivered or contracted to date for social housing purposes were sourced in the following local authority areas -

Carlow -55   

Cork County - 53   

Drogheda - 27   

Dublin City - 27   

Dun Laoghaire Rathdown - 34   

Galway City - 30   

Kildare - 4   

Limerick - 5   

Westmeath – 4.   

In addition to units delivered or contracted, a further 1,198 housing units are either under consideration or under negotiation. Of the units identified by NAMA to date as potentially suitable for social housing purposes, 687 properties were deemed unsuitable by local authorities while 539 were considered by local authorities to be in unsuitable locations. A further 807 properties are no longer available for social housing purposes as they have been let or sold on the private market. My Department, the Housing Agency and NAMA continue to work together with housing authorities and approved housing bodies towards bringing suitable NAMA units into social use. It will continue to be my Department's objective in 2013 to maximise the delivery of social housing using all of the resources available. Quarterly updates in relation to the delivery of NAMA sourced units are available at www.housing.ie.

Leader Programmes Expenditure

 139. Deputy Éamon Ó Cuív Information on Éamon Ó Cuív Zoom on Éamon Ó Cuív asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government Information on Phil Hogan Zoom on Phil Hogan the amount of money that remains for sanctioning in respect of projects under the Leader programme; and if he will make a statement on the matter.  [28198/13]

Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government (Deputy Phil Hogan): Information on Phil Hogan Zoom on Phil Hogan During 2011, the European Commission approved a change in the maximum co-funding rate from 55% to 85% for the LEADER elements of Ireland’s Rural Development Programme but only for expenditure incurred in 2012 and 2013. This had the effect of reducing the available funding under the Programme from €427 million to an estimated €370 million. The exact value of the Programme will not be known until the end of the year when the final figure for expenditure in 2013 is established. A revised financial plan will be submitted to the European Commission late this year reflecting the up-to-date Programme value.

To date, the Local Development Companies (LDCs) have committed €228 million on projects and spent €54 million of administration/ animation (€42 million of this on administration). Up to €74 million, 20% of each LDC’s total Programme expenditure, can be spent on administration. However, I have advised all LDCs that they should aim to spend substantially less than the allowed 20% on administration. This gives a balance of approximately €88 million remaining to be committed on projects and spent on administration.


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