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 Header Item Written Answers Nos. 140-143
 Header Item Departmental Reports
 Header Item Pyrite Remediation Programme Issues
 Header Item Local Authority Housing Issues

Wednesday, 12 June 2013

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 806 No. 2

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Written Answers Nos. 140-143

  Question No. 140 answered with Question No. 137.

Departmental Reports

 141. 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 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.  [28173/13]

Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government (Deputy Phil Hogan): Information on Phil Hogan Zoom on Phil Hogan My Department has concluded a number of Value-for-Money and Policy Reviews since March 2011, namely:

- Value for Money Review of the CLÁR and RAPID Leveraged Expenditure Approach. A copy of the report along with the Department’s response are available at www.environ.ie/en/publications/community/rapid   

- Value for Money Review - Water Services Investment Programme 2007-2009. A copy of the report along with the Department’s action plan are available at www.environ.ie/en/publications/environment/water   

  The Water Sector Reform Programme currently underway, which includes the establishment of Irish Water to take over responsibility for the delivery of water services from 1 January 2014, has superseded many of the VFM report recommendations.

- The Rental Accommodation Scheme (RAS) Value for Money and Policy Review,   which is available in the Oireachtas Library, highlighted six key recommendations that would contribute to the improved operation of the scheme in the future. As far as is possible action has been taken by the Department in relation to all of the recommendations:

- the on-going monitoring and auditing by the Department of the value for money of RAS at recoupment stage, including an analysis of the discount levels achieved by local authorities for each RAS case (recommendation 1);

- the establishment by the Private Residential Tenancies Board of a national rent index in April 2013 (recommendation 2);

- on-going engagement with local authorities to integrate, where possible, the RAS function into the general housing administrative framework of the local authorities (recommendation 3);

- through the Housing Agency, a network of RAS liaison officers has been established with local authorities to try to ensure that any training or information requirements of RAS staff are met (recommendation 3);

- it has been recognised that activation and employment are key concerns: in that context, the Department has been working to remove where possible any barriers in the housing systems that would impede a return to work (recommendation 4);

- on-going review of the administrative processes underpinning social housing delivery and the requirement for performance indicators (recommendations 5 and 6).

  In addition to the above, my Department has undertaken other substantial evaluation work in recent years, including the Local Government Efficiency Review, strategies/reports on Ballymun Regeneration, review and assessment of the EPA, review of the Homeless Strategy, Spot Checks on Capital Projects, study on Irish Water and the report on alignment of Local Government and Local Development.

  My Department is currently engaged with the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform on Focussed Policy Assessments of the efficiency and effectiveness of Pobal in the management of grant schemes and the use of Public Private Partnerships in the Water Services sector.

Pyrite Remediation Programme Issues

 142. 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 the position regarding redress by the pyrite board (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28205/13]

Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government (Deputy Phil Hogan): Information on Phil Hogan Zoom on Phil Hogan One of the key recommendations of the report of the independent Pyrite Panel (July 2012) was the establishment of a Resolution Board to supervise the implementation of a pyrite remediation programme for homeowners who have no other viable options to have pyrite remediation works undertaken. The Pyrite Resolution Board (PRB), which I established earlier this year, has recently published an outline of a proposed remediation scheme. The qualification criteria for inclusion in the scheme are reflective of the conclusions and recommendations of the pyrite report. The scope of the remediation scheme is restricted to providing a solution for those homeowners whose homes are affected by significant pyritic damage and who have no other viable means to have their homes remediated. It is not a compensation scheme and consequently the scope of the scheme does not extend to cover remediation works already undertaken. This is in line with standard practice whereby prior approval would form part of the terms and conditions for inclusion in a scheme of this nature.

Local Authority Housing Issues

 143. 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 if he will include social clauses for the long-term unemployed in any projects under the aegis of his Department announced as part of the extra €150 million in capital expenditure for 2013 and 2014; and if he will make a statement on the matter.  [28258/13]

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 Last week I announced a new €50 million three-year energy efficiency investment programme for local authority homes. This is a key part of the Government’s additional €150 million capital investment in the economy over 2013-2014.

This programme will target the 25,000 least energy efficient local authority homes.  This will result in warmer homes and lower energy bills for thousands of families and will also create around 1,000 jobs in the sector. I intend to announce capital allocations to local authorities very shortly in order that contracts can be commenced as soon as possible. These works will be undertaken by small, locally-based contractors for the most part and will provide job opportunities for the long-term unemployed. I will be asking local authorities to ensure that the potential to employ local labour is exploited to the fullest extent possible, having regard to public procurement rules.


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