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 Header Item Written Answers Nos. 624-642
 Header Item Energy Regulation
 Header Item Energy Regulation
 Header Item Inland Fisheries
 Header Item Broadband Service Provision
 Header Item Post Office Network
 Header Item Programme for Government Implementation
 Header Item Postal Services
 Header Item Semi-State Bodies Remuneration
 Header Item Public Sector Staff Recruitment
 Header Item Local Authority Funding
 Header Item Housing Adaptation Grant Funding
 Header Item Unfinished Housing Developments
 Header Item Architects Register
 Header Item Social and Affordable Housing Provision
 Header Item Dormant Accounts Fund Administration

Tuesday, 25 March 2014

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 835 No. 1

First Page Previous Page Page of 118 Next Page Last Page

Written Answers Nos. 624-642

Energy Regulation

 624. Deputy Michael Healy-Rae Information on Michael Healy-Rae Zoom on Michael Healy-Rae asked the Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources Information on Pat Rabbitte Zoom on Pat Rabbitte the way the ESB can stand over the ever increasing costs of energy to hard pressed householders at a time when they made a profit of €415 million and they continue to raise their prices by a further 8%; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [13914/14]

Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources (Deputy Pat Rabbitte): Information on Pat Rabbitte Zoom on Pat Rabbitte Responsibility for the regulation of the retail electricity market is a matter for the Commission for Energy Regulation (CER), which is an independent statutory body. I have no statutory function in the setting of gas or electricity prices, whether in the regulated or non-regulated parts of these markets. Since 4 April 2011, prices in the electricity retail market have been fully deregulated and business and domestic customers may avail of competitive offerings from a number of electricity supply companies. Price setting by ESB's Electric Ireland and all other electricity suppliers is a commercial and operational matter for those companies operating in that retail market. Electricity and gas costs in Ireland are influenced by various drivers, including global gas and oil prices, the costs of capital, exchange rate fluctuations, and the small size of the Irish market. The wholesale price of gas is the most significant factor in the case of Ireland for electricity and gas. This has risen steadily since 2009 driven by events such as those in the Middle East, North Africa and Japan.

ESB’s profit after tax and before exceptional items was €415m in 2013. This was an increase on the previous year due to a number of factors including payroll savings of €51m and a higher energy margin of €60m, of which two thirds relates to the regulated network business.

In October 2013, ESB announced a price increase from 1 January 2014 by Electric Ireland in order to absorb the additional costs arising from higher fuel and network charges. The increase was also intended to absorb the cost of the increase in the Public Service Obligation (PSO) levy which was approved by the CER to take effect from 1 October 2013. ESB stated at the time of its announcement that the company was conscious of the cost pressures being faced by its customers and the aim was to keep increases to customers as low as possible for as long as possible. However, costs are increasing due to factors outside Electric Ireland’s control.

It is worth noting that ESB paid an interim dividend of €68.4m to the State in addition to a special dividend of €161m in January 2014 out of proceeds from the sale of overseas generation assets in 2013. The Board has recommended a final dividend payment of €28.8m, bringing total dividends for 2013 to €258m and to €1.2billion over the past ten years. I would also highlight that ESB contributes substantially to the Irish economy every year through dividends, investments, taxes and jobs. ESB provides significant employment both directly, with 7,500 employees, and indirectly through contractors and service providers.

Energy Regulation

 625. Deputy Michael Moynihan Information on Michael Moynihan Zoom on Michael Moynihan asked the Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources Information on Pat Rabbitte Zoom on Pat Rabbitte the position regarding the Shannon LNG project; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [13928/14]

 626. Deputy Michael Moynihan Information on Michael Moynihan Zoom on Michael Moynihan asked the Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources Information on Pat Rabbitte Zoom on Pat Rabbitte the reason the Shannon LNG project would be subject to a levy for pipelines it would not use; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [13929/14]

 627. Deputy Michael Moynihan Information on Michael Moynihan Zoom on Michael Moynihan asked the Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources Information on Pat Rabbitte Zoom on Pat Rabbitte if he has had any discussions with those involved in the Shannon LNG project; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [13930/14]

Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources (Deputy Pat Rabbitte): Information on Pat Rabbitte Zoom on Pat Rabbitte I propose to take Questions Nos. 625 to 627, inclusive, together.

  Since 2002, the regulation of the gas market has been the responsibility of the Commission for Energy Regulation (CER), which is independent in the performance of its functions. I have no direct statutory function in relation to liquefied natural gas (LNG) projects, including the Shannon LNG project.

  Decisions on the regulatory treatment of the gas interconnectors and tariffing are statutorily matters for the CER under the Gas (Interim) (Regulation) Act 2002. The CER as the independent energy regulator has a remit to protect energy consumers, ensure security of supply and support competitiveness. The CER also has a duty to ensure that new sources of gas for the Irish market do not result in unwarranted increases in the price of gas to business and domestic consumers.

  I and Government colleagues have consistently been supportive of the proposal by Shannon LNG to construct a LNG terminal near Ballylongford, County Kerry. The LNG facility would bring connectivity for the first time to the global LNG market. The prospect of such a facility is therefore a potentially positive step for the island of Ireland. While neither I nor my Department have any direct role in regard to the project, I have met with principals of the companies proposing to develop the project.

  Tariff reform is being driven by the entry of Corrib gas into the system. The rationale for the CER’s high level decision of 29 June 2012 as regards pricing and treatment of the interconnectors is that if the current regime were to persist, and with new sources of gas such as Corrib gas and Shannon LNG, the price of gas would rise significantly for all Irish consumers, regardless of the source of the supply. Given our high dependence on gas for electricity generation this would also give rise to electricity price increases and would negatively impact on Ireland’s competitiveness. Full details of the CER’s rationale for its decision are to be found in the CER Decision Paper of 29 June 2012 (CER/12/087) available from the CER website at www.cer.ie.

  The CER decision subsequently became the subject of a Judicial Review taken by Shannon LNG. On 11 December 2013, the High Court upheld the CER decision of 29 June 2012 on reform of the gas tariffing regime. I understand that Shannon LNG has appealed the High Court decision to the Supreme Court.

  The CER for its part is currently progressing the detail of tariff settlement as envisaged in the June 2012 decision and has recently notified stakeholders of the establishment of a Networks Tariff Liaison Group, which will include a representative from Shannon LNG. It has also advised stakeholders as regards the consultation process and its intention to finalise a Decision over the summer months. Therefore, it is in the interests of all stakeholders, including consumers, that clarity in regard to tariffing arrangements is provided as soon as possible and I would urge all concerned to engage with the CER on this regulatory issue.

Inland Fisheries

 628. Deputy Ciarán Lynch Information on Ciaran Lynch Zoom on Ciaran Lynch asked the Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources Information on Pat Rabbitte Zoom on Pat Rabbitte his plans to introduce a rod licence or a compulsory angler charge; if legislation is in preparation regarding same; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [13953/14]

Minister of State at the Department of Communications, Energy and Natural Resources (Deputy Fergus O'Dowd): Information on Fergus O'Dowd Zoom on Fergus O'Dowd I have previously outlined the position on this matter in the House. The legislative framework governing inland fisheries is extensive, but quite dated. While the principal instrument is the 1959 Inland Fisheries Act, there are a myriad of other provisions. I made clear some time ago my intention to work to bring forward a legislative code fit for the twenty-first Century and have been working on this with my Department. Modernising the legislative code in this area presents a unique opportunity to create a new and better way to manage the resource. In that regard, I have always sought to obtain a wide and meaningful engagement with all stakeholders in an open and transparent process and in this regard I organised and attended a series of public information and consultation meetings. The 70 proposals and submissions received on foot of the consultation process are published on the Department’s website. While there is a wide range of views I am committed to listening to views from all sides.

I want to again make it absolutely clear that no rod licence was proposed, nor is it intended to introduce such a licence. I have been absolutely clear and consistent on this point.

I recently had a number of very positive and helpful meetings with angling representatives and I am happy that all of the Federations are in active discussion on the important issue of what the new legislation might include. There is a real opportunity for the angling community to work together in a positive and mutually respectful way in order to secure a bright future for the sector. I want to convey my support for the important discussions between the Federations and to reiterate my commitment that no legislative proposals will be advanced by me until the discussions are complete and I have heard the broad consensus on the new legislation.

I welcome all proposals for developing the angling sector in Ireland. In this regard, it is intended that further comprehensive stakeholder consultation will also take place prior to any finalisation of the proposed Inland Fisheries Bill.

I am keenly aware that not all anglers are members of clubs or federations and would urge all Deputies to encourage such anglers in their areas to participate in the future round of consultative meetings.

Broadband Service Provision

 629. Deputy Patrick O'Donovan Information on Patrick O'Donovan Zoom on Patrick O'Donovan asked the Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources Information on Pat Rabbitte Zoom on Pat Rabbitte if he will clarify the policy on the provision of broadband services in rural areas; if he recognises a universal social obligation to provide adequate broadband, mobile and telephone services to all areas; and if he will make a statement on the matter.  [14053/14]

Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources (Deputy Pat Rabbitte): Information on Pat Rabbitte Zoom on Pat Rabbitte The provision of broadband services in the Irish market is in the first instance a matter for the private commercial providers operating here. The State does not become involved in the provision of services unless there is evidence of clear market failure. The National Broadband Scheme (NBS) is one such example of State intervention. This scheme was designed to provide basic broadband connectivity to largely rural areas of the country that were not in receipt of commercial services. Between the significant on-going commercial investments and the targeted State interventions basic broadband services are now available throughout the country. In these circumstances, I see no need to extend the Universal Service Obligation for landline telephony to cover broadband services.

The Government’s National Broadband Plan, which I published in August 2012, aims to radically change the broadband landscape in Ireland by ensuring that high speed broadband is available to all citizens and businesses. This will be achieved by providing:

- a policy and regulatory framework that assists in accelerating and incentivising commercial investment, and

- a State-led investment for areas where it is not commercial for the market to invest.

Since the publication of the Plan, investments by the commercial sector are underway and in some instances have been accelerated in both fixed line and wireless high speed broadband services. In the fixed line segment of the market, eircom has announced plans to pass 1.4m addresses with its next generation broadband service, with speeds of up to 100Mbps, while UPC has increased its entry level and maximum speeds to 120Mbps and 200Mbps respectively. Mobile operators have also made announcements regarding network upgrades and are rolling out enhanced product offerings. In addition, the recent enactment of legislation to facilitate the ESB's entry into the telecommunications market, either alone or in partnership with another operator, will contribute to the roll-out of high speed broadband and facilitate further competition in the Irish market.

Many of these developments have been facilitated through the implementation of measures in the National Broadband Plan, including the conclusion of ComReg's multiband spectrum auction, and the regulatory regime for fixed line Next Generation Access and service bundles. Both of these measures are designed to incentivise the rollout of services by operators.

In tandem with these developments, intensive work, including a comprehensive mapping exercise, continues in my Department in relation to the State-led investment to secure the countrywide introduction of next generation broadband access. In order to progress the State-led investment for areas where it is not commercial for the market to invest, a full procurement process must be designed and EU State Aids approval must be obtained.

Under the national mapping exercise, information has been sought from all undertakings authorised by ComReg in relation to current and planned broadband services, both basic and next generation access (NGA). Mapping data have been submitted to my Department by a total of 23 operators and the process of analysing the data and supporting information is continuing. The mapping data are being assessed on a case-by-case basis, having regard to the EU State Aid Guidelines. When all of the information has been analysed, a clear picture should emerge of coverage throughout all of the country. I expect that this process will be completed later this year, after which it is my intention to publish a map showing existing and planned NGA broadband coverage, along with the Government’s proposals for a State-led intervention to roll out high speed broadband across the country.

The procurement process for the approved intervention will be carried out in accordance with EU and Irish procurement rules and it is expected that it will be launched later in 2014.

Through the implementation of the National Broadband Plan, I am committed to ensuring that all parts of Ireland have access to high speed broadband, with a view to ensuring that all citizens and businesses can participate fully in, and maximise the benefits of, a digitally enabled economy and society.

Post Office Network

 630. Deputy Brendan Griffin Information on Brendan Griffin Zoom on Brendan Griffin asked the Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources Information on Pat Rabbitte Zoom on Pat Rabbitte the number of post office closures by county per annum in the past 20 years in tabular form; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [14079/14]

Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources (Deputy Pat Rabbitte): Information on Pat Rabbitte Zoom on Pat Rabbitte Matters relating to the post office network, including post office closures, are an operational matter for the Board and management of An Post and one in which I have no statutory function. In the time available, it was not possible to collate the information required. I will revert to the Deputy in due course following consultation with An Post.

Programme for Government Implementation

 631. Deputy Billy Kelleher Information on Billy Kelleher Zoom on Billy Kelleher asked the Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources Information on Pat Rabbitte Zoom on Pat Rabbitte if he will provide an update in tabular form of the commitments in the programme for Government that relate to his Department; and the progress that has been made in the implementation of each commitment.  [14110/14]

Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources (Deputy Pat Rabbitte): Information on Pat Rabbitte Zoom on Pat Rabbitte The recently published Programme for Government Annual Report sets out the progress over the last 12 months of an extensive number of Programme for Government commitments. A copy of the Annual Report is available on the website of the Department of the Taoiseach at www.taoiseach.gov.ie. My Department’s Statement of Strategy 2011 – 2014 lists all of the Programme for Government commitments which come under my remit. I recently outlined to the Dáil progress to date on these commitments and the priorities for 2014, many of which are critical to the economic and social wellbeing of citizens and businesses across the State.

Postal Services

 632. Deputy Michael Healy-Rae Information on Michael Healy-Rae Zoom on Michael Healy-Rae asked the Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources Information on Pat Rabbitte Zoom on Pat Rabbitte the position regarding persons who offer services of postal agencies in the community; the proposals there would be in the future to enable postal agencies to process local property tax, car tax, water charges, TV licence, savings bonds, dog and gun licence, registered post, passport, penalty points and so on. [14132/14]

Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources (Deputy Pat Rabbitte): Information on Pat Rabbitte Zoom on Pat Rabbitte Matters relating to the postal agencies, including those raised by the Deputy, are an operational matter for the management and Board of An Post and one in which I have no statutory function.Postal agencies were originally introduced in 2002 as a mechanism to facilitate the rationalisation of the network by ensuring that when a Post Office contract was ceased, Department of Social Protection payments continued in the locality. Postal agencies are valued for the commercial benefit of the footfall they bring to the retail business of the contract holder. The postal agency contract provides for the making of Department of Social Protection payments; it provides for no other Post Office services.

In recent years, An Post has ceased establishing any new postal agencies due to the increasing level of security and credit risk associated with them. There are no plans to increase the services available at existing postal agencies. In relation to the future of the post office network including the introduction of new services, I clearly set out my position in the Dáil on 25 February last.

Semi-State Bodies Remuneration

 633. Deputy Derek Nolan Information on Derek Nolan Zoom on Derek Nolan asked the Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources Information on Pat Rabbitte Zoom on Pat Rabbitte the salaries, including pensions and any other bonus-related additions, including company cars, of chief executive officers of commercial State bodies under the remit of his Department; and if he will make a statement on the matter.  [14477/14]

Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources (Deputy Pat Rabbitte): Information on Pat Rabbitte Zoom on Pat Rabbitte The salary rate for CEOs of Commercial Semi State Companies under the aegis of my Department is as set out in the table below.

  Salary Rate for CEOs of Commercial State Companies

Name of CompanyNew Appointment Rate
An Post€240,448
BGÉ€250,000
Bord na Móna€226,000
EirGrid€170,000
ESB€295,000
RTÉ€219,871
TG4€139,104


  The Annual Reports of the companies contain details of incumbent CEOs’ salaries. The Annual Reports are available in the Oireachtas Library.

  Pensions are negotiated on a case by case basis between the relevant company and the CEO as part of the new contract, in accordance with the Guidelines on contracts, remuneration and other conditions of Chief Executives and senior management of Commercial State Bodies, subject to statutory provision for the approval of remuneration and terms by Ministers and the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform.

  Expenses arrangements are an operational matter for the companies.

Public Sector Staff Recruitment

 634. 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 his views on a matter (details supplied) regarding the public service recruitment moratorium; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [13377/14]

Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government (Deputy Phil Hogan): Information on Phil Hogan Zoom on Phil Hogan The moratorium on recruitment and promotion in the public service was introduced in March 2009 in response to the financial crisis. My Department operates a delegated sanction from the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform for implementation of the moratorium in relation to local authorities, and any exceptions to the moratorium in local authorities require sanction from my Department.

Under section 159 of the Local Government Act 2001, each City and County Manager is responsible for staffing and organisational arrangements necessary for carrying out the functions of the local authorities for which he or she is responsible. In this regard, it is a matter for City and County Managers, in the first instance, to ensure that the moratorium is implemented while the appropriate service levels are maintained.

My Department examines all staffing sanction requests on a case by case basis having due regard to the continued delivery of key services in the context of staffing and budgetary constraints. In considering sanction requests, public safety, maintaining key front line services, and economic issues are given precedence.

My Department has no function in relation to the engagement of people by Local Authorities on unpaid work experience.

Local Authority Funding

 635. 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 when the recently announced funding will be with the relevant local authorities to allow for repair and reinstatement of infrastructure damaged by the storm and high tides in January; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [13952/14]

Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government (Deputy Phil Hogan): Information on Phil Hogan Zoom on Phil Hogan Following consideration of a report from me on the severe weather that affected Ireland in the period from mid-December 2013 to 6 January 2014, the Government decided on 11 February that a sum of up to €70 million will be made available for a programme of repair and remediation works. €62 million of this will be for local authorities in the areas worst affected by severe weather to help affected communities by restoring roads, coastal protection and other amenities, facilities and infrastructure, including piers and harbours. The Government decision was based on estimates provided by local authorities. Requests for funding of new works to protect coastal areas have been referred to the Office for Public Works and are not covered by the Government decision of 11 February 2014.   

The Report on the Severe Weather from 13 December 2013 to 6 January 2014 contains details of estimates of the cost of damage caused on a county by county basis and has been published on my Department’s website  www.environ.ie.

  The arrangements for the drawing down of the funds by local authorities on foot of the Government decision were finalised following discussions between local authorities, my Department, the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport, the Office of Public Works, the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, the Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, the Department of Finance and the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform.

  Local authorities have been notified of the sums being made available to them and have been requested to prioritise works which are significant for economic activity, with particular regard to the forthcoming tourist season.

  Each local authority has been requested to prepare and submit directly to the relevant funding Departments/Agencies a programme of works for the projects identified, showing the indicative timescales and drawdown profiles. Local authorities have been informed that there will be a degree of flexibility available for prioritising projects to include works necessary as a result of more recent storms within the sub-headings of the overall funding envelope, pending preparation of a more comprehensive assessment of the impacts of these recent storms. The flexibility in prioritising projects indicated above is permissible within individual programmes (e.g. roads) and not across the various programmes.

  In addition to the above funding arrangement, once-off allocations are being made to relevant local authorities to recoup the costs associated with the response to the storms during the period from 13 December 2013 to 6 January 2014. This includes the costs of response, clean-up works and necessary immediate works which were undertaken in the aftermath of the storms. This allocation will be drawn down from my Department on provision of appropriate documentation.

  Further considerable damage has been caused by flooding and storm events that have occurred since 27 January. Details on damage caused and estimated repair costs in relation to these more recent events are currently being assessed.

Housing Adaptation Grant Funding

 636. 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 his views on correspondence (details supplied) regarding the changes in eligibility requirements for the elderly and disabled; and if he will make a statement on the matter.  [14033/14]

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 The changes to the terms and conditions governing the suite of Housing Adaptation Grants for Older People and People with a Disability were made on foot of the report of a review group, established last year by my Department to examine the operation of the schemes. Membership of the group included members of the County and City Managers’ Association (CCMA), the Housing Practitioner Network, Local Authority housing personnel and officials from my Department. Consultations were held with organisations working with older people and people with a disability, including the Irish Wheelchair Association, ALONE, HSE, Ataxia Ireland, the Irish Society for Autism and the National Disability Authority. The aim of the review was to spread the benefits of the schemes as widely as possible and to ensure fairness and value for money in their operation.

There has been no change to the maximum grant available under the Housing Adaptation Grant for People with a Disability, which remains at €30,000, or the Mobility Aids Grant, which remains at €6,000. In the case of the Housing Aid for Older People, the maximum grant has been reduced from €10,500 to €8,000. It should be noted that the average grant paid under this scheme in 2011, 2012 and 2013 was €4,162, €4,106 and €3,995, respectively, well below the maximum available. The age limit for eligibility has been increased from 60 to 66 years; however, a lower age limit may apply at the discretion of the local authority in certain cases.

Changes have also been made with regard to the assessment of means of applicants. To bring it into line with the means assessment for applicants for social housing, all household members’ income, with certain exceptions, will be included in the assessment of means. The level of income beyond which no grant is payable has been reduced from €65,000 to €60,000. In the case of an applicant where a household member is aged under 65 there is no impact on grant eligibility. However, where appropriate, their income will be taken into account in assessing household income.

I have increased the level of funding available for the grant schemes by 12% to €38.4 million in 2014. Every local authority has been allocated increased funding for grants compared to the initial allocation in 2013. The detailed administration of these schemes, including the assessment, approval and payment of grants to applicants under the various grant measures, is the responsibility of the relevant local authority.

Unfinished Housing Developments

 637. Deputy Damien English Information on Damien English Zoom on Damien English asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government Information on Phil Hogan Zoom on Phil Hogan the action he will take to assist those homeowners in residential housing estates with serious health and safety issues due to public lighting not operating, in particular where the estate has not been taken in charge by the local authority and the developer not operating thereby leaving residents with no direct line of support to resolve the issue, and a very long wait for works to be completed; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [12796/14]

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 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. My Department launched the Public Safety Initiative (PSI) in March 2011, which provided funding to address immediate public safety issues. The types of works that have been approved to date under the PSI include the fencing off of unsecured and hazardous areas, capping of pipes, installation of street lighting and other works to secure sites. Under the PSI, my Department has made allocations totalling €4.5m to local authorities from the funding made available. To date, €3.26m has been drawn down.

The Public Safety Initiative provides funding only in instances where a developer has abandoned the development. However, in circumstances where the developer is merely inactive the responsibility for the maintenance and resolution of issues surrounding the development are matters which need to be addressed between the developer and the relevant stakeholders, and my Department has no remit in this regard.

Budget 2014 contains a special provision, in the form of a targeted €10m Special Resolution Fund (SRF), to assist further in addressing the legacy of unfinished housing developments. The SRF has been proposed to encourage the resolution of the remaining tranche of unfinished developments identified in the National Housing Development Survey 2013 and, particularly, those developments not likely to be resolved in the normal way through solely developer/owner/funder action because of the presence of specific financial barriers. It is envisaged that the SRF should be particularly targeted to address the remaining unfinished developments with residents living in them and, in particular, any developments that local authorities identified, for the purposes of the Local Property Tax waiver, as in a seriously problematic condition.

My Department is currently evaluating SRF proposals from local authorities. I hope that the SRF will enable very substantial progress to be made in resolving as many of the remaining unfinished developments as possible.

Architects Register

 638. Deputy David Stanton Information on David Stanton Zoom on David Stanton asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government Information on Phil Hogan Zoom on Phil Hogan the number of persons who have applied to be registered as architects under Part 3 of the Building Control Act 2007 since its introduction; the number that were accepted onto the register of architects as a result of a successful application; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [12832/14]

Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government (Deputy Phil Hogan): Information on Phil Hogan Zoom on Phil Hogan The Building Control Act 2007, provided , inter alia, for the protection of the use of certain professional titles, including the title of Architect, in order to protect consumers from unregistered persons passing themselves off as construction professionals. The Royal Institute of the Architects of Ireland (RIAI) is the designated registration body for the purposes of Part 3 of the Act. I have no direct role in relation to the day to day administration of the register of architects. Section 73 of the Act requires the registration body as soon as may be after the end of each year to prepare and publish a report of its proceedings under the Act during that year.

Social and Affordable Housing Provision

 639. 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 funding sought by Galway County Council in 2014 for house extensions, new houses and house refurbishments; the number of new houses, house refurbishments and house extensions that funding has been sought for by Galway County Council; when a decision will be made on this application; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [12860/14]

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 my Department’s Social Housing Investment Programme, funding is provided to local authorities for the construction and acquisition of social housing units and for a range of measures to improve the quality and standard of the social housing stock, including estate-wide remedial works, the regeneration of disadvantaged social housing estates and flat complexes and the provision of extensions and adaptations to meet the needs of tenants with a disability.

On Budget Day 2014 I announced details of a new measure with funding of €15 million which will be invested in bringing vacant and boarded-up local authority houses back into productive use. My Department recently advised local authorities that funding of up to €30,000 per dwelling will be provided for a suite of retrofitting works to bring vacant properties back to a high standard. Funding will be allocated on the basis of equitable and evidence based criteria which reflect the merit and cost effectiveness of proposals and the degree of local housing need. Local authorities are required to submit proposals to my Department by 28 March, 2014. I intend to announce details of the funding allocations as soon as possible afterwards.

Earlier this month, I announced the approval of some 56 social housing construction projects with an overall value of some €68 million under the local authority housing construction programme for 2014-2015. Some €420,000 was approved in respect of a proposal submitted by County Galway Council for the construction of three rural dwellings.

Galway County Council also recently advised my Department that three properties will require adaptations and extensions to meet the needs of particular tenants. This proposal will be considered for funding approval following receipt of a detailed submission from the Council.

Dormant Accounts Fund Administration

 640. Deputy Maureen O'Sullivan Information on Maureen O'Sullivan Zoom on Maureen O'Sullivan asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government Information on Phil Hogan Zoom on Phil Hogan the number of disbursements made from the dormant accounts fund since the abolition of the Dormant Account Board; the total disbursed in each instance under each of the following headings, educational disadvantage, disability and socio-economic advantage; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [12840/14]

 641. Deputy Maureen O'Sullivan Information on Maureen O'Sullivan Zoom on Maureen O'Sullivan asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government Information on Phil Hogan Zoom on Phil Hogan his plans to publish a dormant accounts disbursement plan, in succession to the now elapsed dormant accounts disbursement plan of 2009; the legal status of the dormant accounts fund in the absence of such a plan; if the dormant accounts fund is compliant with the terms of the relevant legislation in the absence of such a disbursement plan; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [12841/14]

 642. Deputy Maureen O'Sullivan Information on Maureen O'Sullivan Zoom on Maureen O'Sullivan asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government Information on Phil Hogan Zoom on Phil Hogan the interests, outside his own Department and the Civil Service generally, he intends to consult in the event that he sets about preparing a dormant accounts disbursement plan in succession to the now elapsed dormant accounts disbursement plan of 2009; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [12842/14]

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. 640 to 642, inclusive, together.

  The Dormant Accounts Board was dissolved on 31 December 2012 and a new disbursement scheme was approved by Government in December 2013 in accordance with the Dormant Accounts (Amendment) Act 2012. This was laid before the Houses of the Oireachtas on 18 December 2013.

  The National Treasury Management Agency (“the Agency”) is required by the Dormant Accounts Acts 2001 to 2012 to prepare financial statements in respect of the operations of the Dormant Accounts Fund for each financial year. The Agency is also responsible for safeguarding assets under its control. Disbursements on Dormant Accounts measures are paid from the relevant Department’s Vote in the same way as any other spending programme. The Vote is then reimbursed by the Agency from the Dormant Accounts Fund on the direction of the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform.

  During 2013 and to date in 2014, my Department, as well as the Department of Children and Youth Affairs, the Irish Prison Service and the Department of Education and Skills, provided funding for disbursement to beneficiary projects under the Dormant Accounts Fund under the Dormant Accounts Board Disbursement Plan 2009. The total disbursed from the Fund in 2013 (full year) across Government Departments and Agencies came to €1,486,993.

  All disbursements made on behalf of my Department fall under the socio-economic advantage category. The breakdown of disbursements to the projects by Pobal on behalf of my Department during 2013 and 2014 is listed in the table below.

  The 2012 Dormant Accounts (Amendment) Act also provides for the preparation of an action plan to give effect to the disbursement scheme. Organisations will be able to apply for funding once the action plan is approved, which is expected to be later this year, following a consultation process with relevant Government Departments and Pobal. I have allocated €5.456 million for Dormant Accounts Measures under my Department in 2014, which includes €2 million to be used to support labour force activation measures in local authorities and the implementation of a modest action plan.

  Further data in relation to the Dormant Accounts Fund are available on my Department’s website at www.environ.ie   

. Beneficiary Payments by Pobal in respect of Dormant Accounts Measures under the Socio-Economic Advantage Category on behalf of the Department of the Environment, Community and Local Government 2013 and to date in 2014

Beneficiary
€ Amount
St Michaels FRC Women's CDP 9,000.00
Mitchell’s Integrated Services Centre Co. Ltd 1,230,386.00
Killinarden Community Council 12,575.45
Olympic Boxing and Social Club 200.00
Ballinfoyle Mor RAPID Committee 1,000.00
Galway Volunteer Centre 200.00
Suir Community Development Project 100.00
Dublin Docklands Boxing Club 612.05
Community Enhancement (Jobstown) Limited 200.12
We The People Community Development Project & Springboard HSE Family Support Project 200.00
Longford Acorn Community Development Project 746.10
Dolphin House Community Development Association 7,500.00
Blanchardstown Youth Service - Foroige 319.85
South West Wexford School Completion Programme 150.00
Our Lady Queen of Peace Community Pre School Ltd 600.00
Bunratty Community Childcare Centre Limited 20,000.00
County Galway Local Sports Partnership 500.00
Archbishop Ryan Junior National School 2,065.00
Longford Social Services Limited 70,200.00
Society of St. Vincent de Paul 6,800.00
St Joseph's/O'Connell Boys GAA Club 994.80
St Brigid's Family and Community Centre 24,912.77
Gaelscoil Bhaile Munna 318.54
St. Joseph's Senior National School 121.94
Active Living for Older Adults in Ballymun 330.00
County Galway Local Sports Partnership 789.28
Poppintree Early Education Centre Limited 1,890.75
Olympic Boxing and Social Club 600 .0 0
Ballybane Mervue Community Development Project 1,500.00
Galway Volunteer Centre 500.00
South & East Cork Area Development Partnership Limited. (SECAD) 3,692.20
The Macushla Dance Club 517.00
Cork City Partnership (on behalf of Gurranabraher Churchfield Community Development Project Hosted Project Through Cork City Partnership) 4,147.27
North West City School Completion Programme on behalf of Primary Schools in the project area 779.00
Glen CDP 569.39
Cork City Partnership (on behalf of Gurranabraher Churchfield Community Development Project Hosted Project Through Cork City Partnership) 4,000.00
Cork City Partnership Ltd 568.64
Foroige (CABLE Project) 220.04
Louth Youth Federation Ltd. 110.82
St. Oliver Plunketts/Eoghan Ruadh GAA Club 878.00
National League of Blind of Ireland Trust 200.00
Ladies Gaelic Football Association 3,817.45
Limerick Youth Service (King's Island Area Team) 2,250.00
Irish Hockey Association 380.00
South West Wexford School Completion Programme 400.00
Follow Your Dream Project, St. Munchin's Family Resource Centre 584.42
County Galway Local Sports Partnership 1,137.00
St Josephs Garbally College 1,120.00
Three Rivers Storytelling Festival 254.30
Collinstown Park School Completion Programme 400.00
CPLN Area Partnership 2,000.00
South Tipperary Development Company 4,102.00
Waterford Institute of Technology 2,567.00
Active Living for Older Adults in Ballymun 140.00
Three Drives Family Resource Centre 976.35
County Galway Local Sports Partnership 5,650.00
Louth Leader Partnership 69.10
Athy Community Council 990.56
Blakestown Mountview School Completion Programme 1,627.82
Listowel Family Resource Centre 1,059.88
Kildare West/Wicklow Community Addiction Team 3,496.51
Co-operation Fingal - Swords Family Support Group 8,400.00
Cobh Community Drugs Project 697.19
Tipperary Regional Youth Service 10,000.00
Southill Family Resource Centre 146.40
North East Family Support Network 6,036.70
Kilkenny Family Support Group 220.39
Ballyfermot Star 4,170.00
Canal Communities LDTF Ltd 926.66
Dublin North East Family Support Network 4,725.00
Dun Laoghaire Rathdown Community Addiction Team 2,485.24
Churchfield Community Trust 700.00
Cork City Partnership Ltd. 1,020.00
Ballyphehane Action for Youth 818.34
Ballincollig Youth Initiative 644.61
Ballymun Youth Action Project 1,000.00
Coolmine Therapeutic Community 1,000.00
Edenderry Addressing Substance Abuse 4,342.12
S.D.C.C. Limited 672.50
Scoil Íosa Primary School 936.50
Scoil Phádraig 452.5 0
Ballina Family Resource Centre Limited 233.00
Dungarvan Town Council 2,900.00
Limerick Youth Service 685.19
Rathkeale Boxing Club 800.00
Rathkeale Community Childcare Limited 1,000.00
Scouting Ireland 800.00
St Mary’s Sean Finns GAA Club 1,500.00
Mahon/Blackrock School Completion Prog 1,200.00
Stepping Stone Accommodation Limited 11,768.00
Ferns Dicesan Yoth Services Limited 24,093.00
Limierick City Council 4725.00
Crib na nÓg 48.00
TOTAL 1,543,163.74


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