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 Header Item Written Answers Nos. 715-731
 Header Item Motor Tax Collection
 Header Item Register of Electors Data
 Header Item Water Meters
 Header Item Local Authority Members' Remuneration
 Header Item Compulsory Purchase Orders
 Header Item Local Government Fund
 Header Item Pyrite Remediation Programme
 Header Item Leader Programmes Applications
 Header Item Programme for Government Implementation
 Header Item Planning Issues
 Header Item Noise Pollution
 Header Item Noise Pollution
 Header Item Semi-State Bodies Remuneration

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. 715-731

Motor Tax Collection

 715. 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 the reason a person (details supplied) in County Donegal was made to pay motor tax arrears for a vehicle which was off road as the owner did not have in their possession the log book to tax the vehicle, despite them contacting the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport requesting the said document on numerous occasions; and if he will make a statement on the matter.  [13867/14]

Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government (Deputy Phil Hogan): Information on Phil Hogan Zoom on Phil Hogan The issue of a vehicle registration certificate is a matter for the nister for Transport, Tourism and Sport and I have no function in the matter.   

  Motor tax is payable from the date of transfer of vehicle ownership notified to the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport. All outstanding arrears of motor tax must be paid for the period between the date of transfer and the taking out of a motor tax disc for the vehicle.   

Register of Electors Data

 716. Deputy Jerry Buttimer Information on Jerry Buttimer Zoom on Jerry Buttimer asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government Information on Phil Hogan Zoom on Phil Hogan the procedures in place controlling the sale of electoral registers for use for commercial purposes by third parties; if versions of the register which are out of date may be sold; if there are any conditions put on the sale of electoral registers, in particular regarding the period of time within which the information must be used; if there is a time limit enforced beyond which the use of the information contained in the registers is not permitted; and if he will make a statement on the matter.  [13886/14]

Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government (Deputy Phil Hogan): Information on Phil Hogan Zoom on Phil Hogan Under section 13A of the Electoral Act 1992 registration authorities are required to prepare and publish annually an edited version of the register of electors in addition to the full register. Under rule 14A (2) of the Second Schedule to the 1992 Act, registration authorities may supply on request to any person a copy of the edited register or part of that register in printed or electronic format on payment of a fee, as set out in rule 14(2) of that Schedule. The implementation of these provisions is a matter for the registration authorities. While the Electoral Act 1992 does not set out any specific timeframe within which the edited register may be sold, the edited register is published annually on 1 February and comes into force on the fourteenth day after publication.

The relevant provisions are aimed at ensuring that the full register is used solely for electoral or other statutory purposes, while permitting registration details to be used for commercial or other purposes, through the edited register, with the consent of the persons concerned. The edited register, therefore, contains only the names of persons who have no objection to their details being used for purposes other than electoral or other statutory purposes. It is an offence to use the full register except for electoral or other statutory purposes.

Water Meters

 717. 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 when Irish Water will be taking over the remainder of the group water schemes in County Kerry; if they have finalised a system for metering these schemes; and if he will make a statement on the matter.  [13891/14]

Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government (Deputy Phil Hogan): Information on Phil Hogan Zoom on Phil Hogan The Water Services (No. 2) Act 2013 provides for the transfer of water services functions from the 34 water services authorities to Irish Water. Under the legislation, Irish Water now has the powers previously held by local authorities in relation to the takeover of Group Water Schemes and this means that Irish Water may acquire by agreement a waterworks or waste water works, but subject to not fewer than two thirds of those entitled to dispose of it (typically the members of a group water services scheme) giving their consent.

Where local authorities had, at the request of Group Water Schemes, already taken them into charge before 31 December 2013, the schemes' networks now form part of the public water supply network being transferred to Irish Water. 

Group Water Schemes that are supplied by way of a connection to the public water supply network will now become customers of Irish Water, having previously been customers of the relevant local authority. Private Group Water Schemes that have their own water sources will not be customers of Irish Water and will continue to operate as before.

My Department has asked Irish Water to put in place specific arrangements to address the queries which public representatives may have in relation to matters pertaining to the operation of water services under the new utility.  I understand that Irish Water has made contact with Oireachtas members to outline the arrangements for addressing such queries in a timely manner.

Local Authority Members' Remuneration

 718. Deputy Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin Information on Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin Zoom on Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government Information on Phil Hogan Zoom on Phil Hogan the protocol for outgoing town councillors to access their retirement gratuity payment; if it is the case that payments will not be available until former councillors reach 50 years of age; and if he will make a statement on the matter.  [13919/14]

Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government (Deputy Phil Hogan): Information on Phil Hogan Zoom on Phil Hogan Retirement gratuity arrangements for elected local authority members are regulated by the Local Authority Members (Gratuity) Regulations 2002 , as amended by the Local Authority Members (Gratuity) (Amendment) Regulations 2006 .

Under these Regulations, a former member is entitled to a retirement gratuity of 4/20ths of the Representational Payment for each year of service, up to a maximum of 20 years' service. The gratuity is automatically paid on retirement at or after the age of 50, but payment before age 50 may be made where retirement is due to permanent infirmity or where the member dies in office. Where a person ceases to be a member before age 50, whether voluntarily or as a result of failure to be re-elected, the gratuity will be paid when the person reaches age 50 and will be based on the representational payment applicable at that point.

Compulsory Purchase Orders

 719. 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 when will the compulsory purchase order for the lands at the tailing pond at the Silvermines, County Tipperary commence; and if he will make a statement on the matter.  [13926/14]

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 functions conferred on me as nister in relation to the approval of proposals for the compulsory acquisition of land by local authorities were transferred under Section 214 of the Planning and Development Act 2000 to An Bord Pleanála.  I therefore have no function in relation to this matter.   

Local Government Fund

 720. Deputy Brian Stanley Information on Brian Stanley Zoom on Brian Stanley asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government Information on Phil Hogan Zoom on Phil Hogan the amount of money that will be paid to local authorities from the Local Government Fund in 2014, with a breakdown of allocation to each of the local authorities.  [13958/14]

Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government (Deputy Phil Hogan): Information on Phil Hogan Zoom on Phil Hogan I assume that the Question refers to general purpose grants from the Local Government Fund. General purpose grants are a contribution from my Department towards meeting the cost to local authorities of providing a reasonable level of services to their customers.   

  The amount to be paid to local authorities from the Local Government Fund for general purpose grants in 2014 is €281m; this figure recognises the removal of water related costs from local authorities to Irish Water in 2014. The table below details the general purpose grant allocations from the Local Government Fund to local authorities in 2014 (the allocations to County Councils are "county at large" allocations in respect of the County Council and any Town Councils within the county).   

Local Authority Name 2014

Carlow County Council 5,352,469
Cavan County Council 8,458,415
Clare County Council 2,646,284
Cork County Council 2,951,435
Donegal County Council 22,720,760
Dun Laoghaire Rathdown County Council 5,724,579
Fingal County Council 454,714
Galway County Council 12,506,381
Kerry County Council 11,043,837
Kildare County Council 9,686,924
Kilkenny County Council 9,356,019
Laois County Council 7,631,324
Leitrim County Council 8,282,319
Limerick County Council 6,175,333
Longford County Council 8,119,493
Louth County Council 8,243,835
Mayo County Council 17,492,594
Meath County Council 8,799,199
Monaghan County Council 10,247,882
North Tipperary County Council 9,832,046
Offaly County Council 6,663,642
Roscommon County Council 9,107,439
Sligo County Council 8,993,352
South Dublin County Council 923,906
South Tipperary County Council 12,923,064
Waterford County Council 12,125,219
Westmeath County Council 10,115,479
Wexford County Council 11,888,576
Wicklow County Council 6,846,310
Cork City Council 8,544,374
Dublin City Council 2,667,330
Galway City Council 1,626,429
Limerick City Council 8,449,826
Waterford City Council 4,399,212

Pyrite Remediation Programme

 721. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan Information on Bernard Durkan Zoom on Bernard Durkan asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government Information on Phil Hogan Zoom on Phil Hogan his plans to allow redress for homeowners who have already completed the overdue and necessary remedial works to their dwelling as a result of pyrite under the pyrite remediation scheme; and if he will make a statement on the matter.  [13987/14]

 722. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan Information on Bernard Durkan Zoom on Bernard Durkan asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government Information on Phil Hogan Zoom on Phil Hogan the procedure to be followed by homeowners seeking redress, who have already completed necessary works on the home following the discovery of pyrite; and if he will make a statement on the matter.  [13988/14]

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. 721 and 722 together.

  The Pyrite Resolution Act 2013 provides the statutory framework within which the pyrite remediation scheme must operate. It is not a compensation scheme and section 14(8) of the Act specifically states that homeowners can not seek the recoupment of costs associated with the remediation of a dwelling undertaken prior to the commencement of the scheme. The pyrite remediation scheme is one of "last resort" for affected homeowners who have no other practical option to obtain redress. Inclusion in the scheme is predicated, inter alia, on the dwelling being subject to significant damage attributable to pyritic heave, and where this can be verified having regard to the I.S 398:1-2013, prior to works commencing. This is in line with how similar Government schemes operate or have operated in the past, where prior approval is a key eligibility requirement for a scheme. There are no plans to amend the legislation.

  In general, building defects are matters for resolution between the contracting parties, the homeowner, the builder, the supplier and/or their respective insurers and in the event that the parties cannot reach a settlement by negotiation the option of seeking redress in the Courts is available.   

Leader Programmes Applications

 723. 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 the position regarding an application to Mayo North East LEADER in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Mayo; if it will be expedited due to the need to make investment on account of growth in business; and if he will make a statement on the matter.  [14057/14]

Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government (Deputy Phil Hogan): Information on Phil Hogan Zoom on Phil Hogan In line with the 'bottom-up' approach to rural development, there are 35 Local Action Groups (LAGs) contracted, on my Department's behalf, to deliver the LEADER elements of the Rural Development Programme 2007-2013 (RDP) throughout the country.

  The relevant LAG in respect of the project referred to is Mayo North East LEADER Partnership (MNELP). The LAGs are the principal decision-makers in relation to the allocation of project funding. Such decisions are made in the context of the local development strategy of the individual groups and in line with the Programme's Operating Rules and EU regulations.

  I understand that MNELP has received an application from the promoter in question which is currently being examined and a decision will issue shortly.   

Programme for Government Implementation

 724. Deputy Billy Kelleher Information on Billy Kelleher Zoom on Billy Kelleher asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government Information on Phil Hogan Zoom on Phil Hogan 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.  [14113/14]

Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government (Deputy Phil Hogan): Information on Phil Hogan Zoom on Phil Hogan The Programme for Government Office monitors the implementation of the commitments contained in the Programme for Government (PfG) across all Departments. The Office also ensures that all Departmental Strategy Statements reflect the PfG commitments for which each Department is responsible. The Government published an Annual Report earlier this month, setting out the progress made in meeting those commitments and includes the progress on commitments for which my Department is responsible. The report is available on the Department of the Taoiseach's website, www.taoiseach.gov.ie.

Planning Issues

 725. 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 if he will introduce regulations to limit to a lifetime total number of three, the number of occasions on which planning permission by way of retention may be granted to an applicant, whether personal or corporate; and if he will make a statement on the matter.  [14127/14]

 726. 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 if he will support the introduction of a requirement that applicants for planning permission, whether personal or corporate be required to include with the application a statutory declaration of all previous grants of planning permission by way of retention, with any omission from the declaration rendering the accompanying application void; and if he will make a statement on the matter.  [14128/14]

 727. 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 if he will support the introduction of a requirement, applicable to all corporate applicants for planning permission, whereby an application for planning permission include a statutory declaration of all previous grants of planning permission by way of retention to the corporate body concerned or to any corporate body of which a Director of the corporate body concerned was a Director at the material time, with any omission from the declaration rendering the accompanying application void; and if he will make a statement on the matter.  [14129/14]

 728. 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 if he will support the introduction of a regime whereby any application for planning permission be referred by the planning authority to An Bórd Pleanála where the applicant, whether person or corporate, has on three previous occasions benefitted from planning permission by way of retention application void; and if he will make a statement on the matter.  [14130/14]

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 propose to take Questions Nos. 725 to 728, inclusive, together.

Section 35 of the Planning and Development Act 2000, as amended, provides that a planning authority may refuse planning permission in a case where having regard to any information available to it, it is satisfied that the planning applicant or a connected person is not in compliance with a previous permission, has carried out a substantial unauthorised development, or has been convicted of an offence under the Planning Act, and the planning authority consequently forms the opinion that there is a real and substantial risk that the development in respect of which permission is sought would not be completed in accordance with such permission.

The applicant may apply to the High Court for an order annulling the planning authority's decision and on the hearing of such application, the High Court may, as it considers appropriate, confirm the decision of the authority, or annul the decision and direct the authority to consider the applicant's application for planning permission.

It should also be noted that since 2011, it is no longer possible to make retention applications in respect of developments which would require environmental impact assessment or appropriate assessment.

I do not consider it necessary to introduce legislation to limit the number of grants of retention permission that may be granted to a person or a body corporate.

Noise Pollution

 729. 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 if he will introduce a scheme, similar to the pyrite scheme, which will afford redress to homeowners whose properties were inadequately insulated acoustically that is where the building regulations requiring resistance to sound coming from neighbouring dwellings or buildings have not been applied, with consequent , negative effects on quality of life, mental health, and neighbourly relations; and if he will make a statement on the matter.  [14131/14]

Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government (Deputy Phil Hogan): Information on Phil Hogan Zoom on Phil Hogan The Building Regulations set out the legally enforceable minimum standards which a new building must achieve. Primary responsibility for compliance with the requirements of the Building Regulations rests with the designers, builders and owners of buildings. In general, building defects are matters for resolution between the contracting parties, the homeowner, the builder/developer and/or their respective insurers and in the event that the parties cannot reach a settlement by negotiation the option of seeking redress in the Courts is available .

Enforcement of the Building Regulations is primarily the responsibility of the local building control authorities who have strong powers to serve enforcement notices for non-compliance or to institute proceedings for breaches of regulatory requirements within a period of five years from the date the building has been completed.

There are no proposals to introduce a scheme similar to the pyrite remediation scheme to fund remediation works where an owner or a builder/developer has failed to meet their statutory obligations under the Building Control Acts 1990 and 2007.

The pyrite remediation scheme is a very limited scheme applicable to a restricted group of homeowners. It is a scheme of “last resort” where homeowners can demonstrate to the Pyrite Resolution Board that they have no other practicable option to remediate significant damage attributable to pyritic heave. The scheme was introduced having regard to the exceptional nature of the pyrite problem and the circu mstances in which it occurred.

Noise Pollution

 730. 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 the position regarding house alarms (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter.  [14154/14]

Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government (Deputy Phil Hogan): Information on Phil Hogan Zoom on Phil Hogan Section 107 of the Environmental Protection Agency Act 1992 provides local authorities with powers to require measures to be taken to prevent or limit noise from any premises, processes and works. The Environment Section of the relevant City or County Council is the appropriate contact point for reporting a noise nuisance in this regard. In addition, under section 108 of the Environmental Protection Agency Act 1992, where any noise is so loud, so continuous, so repeated, of such duration or pitch or occurring at such times as to give reasonable cause for annoyance, then it is open to any person, or group of persons, to bring a complaint to the District Court. The Court may order the person or body making, causing or responsible for the noise to take the measures necessary to reduce the noise to a specified level or to take specified measures for the prevention or limitation of the noise and the person or body concerned must comply with that order.

  The procedures involved have been simplified to allow action to be taken without legal representation. A public information leaflet outlining the legal avenues available to persons experiencing noise nuisance is available to download from my Department's website at the following address: www.environ.ie/en/Environment/Noise/ .  The Court may take into account whether the person alleged to have caused a noise nuisance took all reasonable care to prevent or limit the noise by using facilities, practices and methods of operation that are suitable for that purpose.   

  The Private Security Authority (PSA), under the aegis of the Department of Justice and Equality, is responsible for the licensing, control and supervision of all installers of security equipment. The PSA has powers to maintain and improve standards in the provision of services, including standards for intruder alarms. As of 1 August 2006, alarm installers cannot legally operate without a PSA licence, the granting of which requires that the installer is compliant with the Irish Standard for intruder alarm systems, IS EN50131. While this standard does not specify a maximum decibel level, it does specify a maximum duration of 15 minutes for the sounding of external alarms on buildings, which must cease automatically after this maximum duration. This applies to all external alarms installed after 1 August 2006.   

Semi-State Bodies Remuneration

 731. Deputy Derek Nolan Information on Derek Nolan Zoom on Derek Nolan asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government Information on Phil Hogan Zoom on Phil Hogan 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.  [14479/14]

Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government (Deputy Phil Hogan): Information on Phil Hogan Zoom on Phil Hogan Irish Water is the only commercial semi-state company under the aegis of my Department. The Managing Director of Irish Water was appointed by the Board of Bord Gáis Éireann, and his remuneration package was approved by me, with the consent of the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform and following consultation with the nister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources. The gross salary payable to the Managing Director of Irish Water is €200,000 per annum. In accordance with his approved Contract of Employment, the Managing Director of Irish Water is afforded the use of a company car (Honda CRV) on terms determined by the Company and health insurance cover of VHI Plan C or equivalent. No other staff benefits are in place.


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