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 Header Item Written Answers Nos. 199-216
 Header Item Defined Benefit Pension Schemes
 Header Item Social Welfare Benefits Expenditure
 Header Item Labour Activation Programmes
 Header Item Rent Supplement Scheme Data
 Header Item Ministerial Responsibilities
 Header Item Traveller Accommodation
 Header Item Fire Stations Provision
 Header Item Vacant Properties Data
 Header Item Social and Affordable Housing Expenditure
 Header Item Local Authority Housing Data
 Header Item Land Availability
 Header Item Vacant Properties Data
 Header Item Housing Assistance Payment Data
 Header Item Housing Adaptation Grant Eligibility
 Header Item Tenant Purchase Scheme Eligibility
 Header Item Vacant Properties Data

Wednesday, 27 September 2017

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 959 No. 4

First Page Previous Page Page of 77 Next Page Last Page

Written Answers Nos. 199-216

Defined Benefit Pension Schemes

 199. Deputy Mary Butler Information on Mary Butler Zoom on Mary Butler asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection Information on Regina Doherty Zoom on Regina Doherty the reason persons (details supplied) were not included in the settlement which was reached under a European Court of Appeal ruling approximately two years ago; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [40868/17]

Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection (Deputy Regina Doherty): Information on Regina Doherty Zoom on Regina Doherty The mediated agreement for former Waterford Crystal workers, covers members of the Waterford Crystal Limited Contributory Pension Plan for Staff and the Waterford Crystal Limited Contributory Pension Scheme for Factory Employees, and provides for the payment of:

(a) a tax-free once-off lump sum of €1,200 for every year of pension scheme service (not company service), not exceeding 40 years, plus

(b) payment of moneys in respect of pension scheme service which is payable from the normal retirement date of the scheme members (on a fortnightly basis).

The terms of the mediated settlement are specifically in respect of a particular group of scheme members whose pension benefits were significantly and detrimentally affected by the wind-up of the scheme.

Former workers who left the service of Waterford Crystal in the early 1990s received their full pension entitlements in relation to pre-1991 service under the schemes at that point. In line with the rules of the company’s pension schemes at the time and the Pensions Act, 1990, such persons had the option to choose whether to take a deferred pension in respect of full service with the company or a refund of pre-1 January 1991 contributions and a deferred pension in respect of post 1 January 1991 service. The Department does not have information on the settlements reached in relation to pre-1991 service as these were matters between the pension scheme and its members at the time.

I understand that the persons referred to by the Deputy left the service of Waterford Crystal in 1986 and in the early 1990s and received a full refund of their pension contributions under the schemes at that time. The payments made were in full and final settlement of their entitlements under the schemes and were paid in accordance with Pension Regulations then in force. There are no settlements or payments due under the mediated settlement in relation to the persons referred to above.

I hope this clarifies the matter for the Deputy..

Social Welfare Benefits Expenditure

 200. Deputy Róisín Shortall Information on Róisín Shortall Zoom on Róisín Shortall asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection Information on Regina Doherty Zoom on Regina Doherty the cost of increasing all welfare and pension payments for every 1% increase. [40878/17]

Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection (Deputy Regina Doherty): Information on Regina Doherty Zoom on Regina Doherty The cost of increasing all weekly rates of payment by 1% is estimated to be just over €145 million in 2018 and a full year. The cost includes proportionate increases for qualified adults.

  It should be noted that this cost is subject to change over the coming weeks in the context of emerging trends and associated revision of the estimated numbers of recipients for 2018.

Labour Activation Programmes

 201. Deputy Clare Daly Information on Clare Daly Zoom on Clare Daly asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection Information on Regina Doherty Zoom on Regina Doherty the position regarding the case of a person (details supplied); her views on whether this is a sensible approach to helping persons back into the workforce; and the options available to this person if they wish to complete their Springboard course before taking up a JobPath place.  [40901/17]

Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection (Deputy Regina Doherty): Information on Regina Doherty Zoom on Regina Doherty The person concerned is in receipt of Jobseekers Allowance and approved for participation on a part-time Springboard course. One of the conditions for jobseekers pursuing part-time educational courses including Springboard is that they must satisfy the condition of being available for and genuinely seeking employment and must engage with any activation service to which they are referred. Persons approved for full-time Springboard courses are not referred for activation services.

I am advised that the person concerned has engaged with JobPath and agreed his Personal Progression Plan on 20 September 2017. He will have access to a personal adviser who will assist and support him in his search for employment including advice regarding opportunities in his chosen field of study. His engagement with the JobPath service will be tailored to take account of his course commitments and if he is experiencing difficulties with meeting his obligations with the JobPath service or his educational course he should discuss them with his personal advisor.

I hope this clarifies the matter for the Deputy..

Rent Supplement Scheme Data

 202. Deputy Sean Fleming Information on Seán Fleming Zoom on Seán Fleming asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection Information on Regina Doherty Zoom on Regina Doherty the number of persons at the end of each month that were in receipt of rent supplement in each of the years 2014 to 2016 and to date in 2017; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [40903/17]

Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection (Deputy Regina Doherty): Information on Regina Doherty Zoom on Regina Doherty The rent supplement scheme plays a vital role in housing families and individuals, with the scheme currently supporting approximately 38,600 tenants for which the Government has provided €253 million for in 2017.

  Details of rent supplement recipients under the scheme in respect of the period from January 2014 to August 2017 are provided in the table.

  Rent supplement customer numbers have declined significantly during the period from January, 2014 (c.78,690) to August, 2017 (c. 38,600). Rent supplement is demand led and the strategic initiative of returning the scheme to its original purpose that of a short-term income support, facilitated by the introduction of HAP has been the main driver in rent supplement’s base decline. There are currently over 27,240 tenants in receipt of HAP support. Other contributory factors include the continuing improvement in the economy leading to fewer people seeking support due to retaining and securing long-term employment allied with people exiting rent supplement through activation and securing job opportunities. The strategic goal as set out in Rebuilding Ireland is to transfer all long-term tenancies from rent supplement to HAP by 2020.

  I trust this clarifies matter for the Deputy.

  Rent Supplement: Recipient Numbers from January 2014 to August, 2017

Year Jan Feb Mar Apr May June July Aug Sept Oct Nov Dec
2014 78,690 78,135 77,731 77,017 76,237 75,710 74,876 73,800 73,486 72,444 71,831 71,533
2015 70,761 70,183 69,793 68,673 67,887 67,016 65,997 65,042 63,826 62,876 62,009 61,247
2016 60,073 59,006 57,605 56,811 55,531 54,181 53,164 51,795 50,700 49,735 48,599 48,041
2017 47,113 46,118 44,790 43,691 42,271 41,240 40,134 38,668        

Ministerial Responsibilities

 203. Deputy Dara Calleary Information on Dara Calleary Zoom on Dara Calleary asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government Information on Eoghan Murphy Zoom on Eoghan Murphy the number of Ministers of State attached to his Department; the responsibilities of each; if designated powers have been signed by him and assigned to the relevant Ministers of State; the date on which each designation was signed; the reason in circumstances in which no such designation has been made, this has not occurred; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [40802/17]

Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government (Deputy Eoghan Murphy): Information on Eoghan Murphy Zoom on Eoghan Murphy There are two Ministers of State assigned to my Department, Minister of State Damien English and Minister of State John Paul Phelan.

A range of responsibilities in the areas of Planning, Housing, Marine and Foreshore, and Fire Services have been assigned to Minister of State English.  These functions include oversight of the implementation of local authority Development Plans and Local Area Plans; aspects of student accommodation relevant to my Department; responsibility for the Approved Housing Bodies (Regulation) Bill and establishment of a statutory Regulator as well as coordination of the Government response to Unfinished Housing Developments and housing for older people, people with a disability and policy surrounding Traveller accommodation; functions under the Foreshore Act 1933, including assessment of foreshore leases and licences; and responsibility for the National Directorate for Fire and Emergency Management. The detailed legislative powers delegated to Minister English are outlined in the Housing, Planning, Community and Local Government (Delegation of Ministerial Functions) (No. 2) Order 2017, which was signed on 26 July 2017.

Responsibility for substantial elements of policy and legislation in the areas of Local Government and Electoral Reform have been assigned to Minister of State Phelan.  The preparation of an Order to delegate the extensive associated legislative powers is well under way and the final Order is expected to be submitted to Government in the coming weeks.

Traveller Accommodation

 204. Deputy Eoin Ó Broin Information on Eoin Ó Broin Zoom on Eoin Ó Broin asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government Information on Eoghan Murphy Zoom on Eoghan Murphy the amount allocated to and drawn down by all local authorities for the caravan loan scheme in each of the years 2012 to 2016, and to date in 2017, in tabular form. [40821/17]

Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government (Deputy Eoghan Murphy): Information on Eoghan Murphy Zoom on Eoghan Murphy In accordance with the Housing (Traveller Accommodation) Act 1998, housing authorities have statutory responsibility for the assessment of the accommodation needs of Travellers and the preparation, adoption and implementation of multi-annual Traveller Accommodation Programmes (TAPs) in their areas.  My Department’s role is to ensure that there are adequate structures and supports in place to assist the authorities in providing such accommodation, including a national framework of policy, legislation and funding. 

  One such support is the provision of funding for a caravan loan and grant scheme operated by local authorities.  The scheme of repayable loans, together with a grant element, where relevant, for caravan replacement is a further option to assist Travellers to provide for their own accommodation needs and also to help address the needs of Traveller families who live in substandard caravans or in overcrowded conditions. 

  The following table lists the amount of funding drawn down by all local authorities for the caravan loan scheme in each of the years 2012 to 2016 and to date in 2017:

  Funding drawdown in respect of the Caravan loan scheme 2012 to 2017

- 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 (Year to date) Overall
Kilkenny County Council €640 €640 €1,280 €1,280 €2,560 €640 €7,040
Tipperary County Council €630 €2,405 €630 0 0 0 €3,665
Offaly County Council 0 €630 0 0 0 0 €630
Clare County Council 0 0 €640 0 0 0 €640
Total Amount per year €1,270 €3,675 €2,550 €1,280 €2,560 €640 €11,975
Total Number of loans 2 6 4 2 4 1 19

Fire Stations Provision

 205. Deputy Eamon Scanlon Information on Eamon Scanlon Zoom on Eamon Scanlon asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government Information on Eoghan Murphy Zoom on Eoghan Murphy when construction is due to commence on the new fire station in Ballinamore, County Leitrim; if a detailed cost plan and description of the proposed works has been received from Leitrim County Council; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [40843/17]

Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government (Deputy Eoghan Murphy): Information on Eoghan Murphy Zoom on Eoghan Murphy The provision of fire services in local authority areas, including the establishment and maintenance of fire brigades, the assessment of fire cover needs and the provision of premises, is a statutory function of the individual fire authorities under the provisions of the Fire Services Act, 1981. My Department supports the fire authorities through setting general policy, providing a central training programme, issuing guidance on operational and other related matters and providing capital funding for priority infrastructural projects.

In February 2016, my Department announced a five-year Fire Services Capital Programme with an allocation of €40 million, based on an annual €8 million allocation, to be used for the purchase of fire appliances and specialist equipment, building or upgrading of prioritised Fire Stations, an upgrade of the Communications and Mobilisation system and improvements to Training Centres.

With regard to Ballinamore fire station, correspondence was initially received in August 2007 outlining works required. Further to this, a Capital Appraisal was requested in January 2008 and received by my Department in March 2010.  A further report was submitted by Leitrim County Council in August 2015 detailing a remedial works/refurbishment project costing €120,000.  This fire station project has been included under the five-year Fire Services Capital Programme and is listed as one of the stations to undergo remedial/upgrade works.

In July 2017 the Council requested approval for additional works to the initial proposal at a total cost of €400,000. My Department requested a detailed cost plan and description of these proposed works. Following the receipt and evaluation of this information, it has been decided to approve Leitrim County Council to proceed to tender stage. Upon receipt of a tender proposal my Department will continue working with Leitrim County Council to progress this project.  The projects in the capital programme are reassessed on an annual basis and priority may be adjusted to bring forward projects offering best value-for-money and to take account of the state of readiness of the projects.

Vacant Properties Data

 206. Deputy Lisa Chambers Information on Lisa Chambers Zoom on Lisa Chambers asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government Information on Eoghan Murphy Zoom on Eoghan Murphy the number of vacant housing units his Department has under its control; his plans to bring these units back into use; the timeframe for them to be made available for housing; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [40859/17]

Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government (Deputy Eoghan Murphy): Information on Eoghan Murphy Zoom on Eoghan Murphy Statistics in relation to social housing stock are gathered by the National Oversight and Audit Commission (NOAC) in their annual reports on Performance Indicators in Local Authorities. These statistics are set out by local authority and include the percentage of such dwellings that were vacant at the end of the year, with the last year for which the statistics are available being 2015. This report is available at the following link: http://noac.ie/wp-content/uploads/2016/12/2015-PI-Report.pdf.

  Section 58 of the Housing Act 1966 provides that the management and maintenance of local authority housing stock, including the implementation of planned maintenance programmes and carrying out of responsive repairs and pre-letting repairs is a matter for each individual local authority. However, my Department has provided support to local authorities to return vacant social housing units to productive use and make them available for re-letting in an energy efficient condition at a reasonable cost. The Department’s funding is to support the authorities in tackling those houses that may require a greater level of remediation than the normal level of pre-letting repairs that is the responsibility of local authorities as part of their on-going repair and maintenance of local authority housing. 

  These targeted measures focus exclusively on vacant and boarded-up properties with the objective of returning these to productive use as quickly as possible over the period of the programme. Retrofitting is undertaken on properties selected by local authorities on the basis of unit cost, the extent of local housing need and the age/condition of the property. Since the commencement of the programme in 2014, over 7,300 properties have been remediated and a further 1,400 units are expected to be returned to productive use this year. 

Social and Affordable Housing Expenditure

 207. Deputy Brendan Howlin Information on Brendan Howlin Zoom on Brendan Howlin asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government Information on Eoghan Murphy Zoom on Eoghan Murphy the cost of building an additional 1,000 social housing units per year on local authority or State-owned land; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [40887/17]

Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government (Deputy Eoghan Murphy): Information on Eoghan Murphy Zoom on Eoghan Murphy There are a number of variables in terms of estimating the cost of providing social housing units e.g. form of delivery, size of unit, land, funding etc.

  The Rebuilding Ireland Action Plan for Housing and Homelessness is based on a blended approach to delivery, under which there are a range of delivery mechanisms such as building, leasing and acquisitions. 47,000 social housing units will be provided over the life of the Plan, and an additional 88,000 households will have their housing need met through Housing Assistance Payment and the Rental Accommodation Scheme.  €5.35 billion, made up of €4.5 billion capital and €0.85 billion current expenditure, is provided for to support the delivery of Rebuilding Ireland's social housing ambition.

  In terms of construction and "all-in" costs, the averages for a range of differently sized social housing units are set out in the table.  These are based on the analysis of returned data from tendered social housing schemes over an extended period. Construction cost is reflective of building costs (including VAT) and also includes normal site works and site development. All-in cost includes cost of construction, land cost, professional fees, utility connections, site investigations/surveys, archaeology where appropriate, VAT and contribution to public art. Abnormal costs are excluded from these figures.

- 1 bed 2 bed (1 storey) 2 bed (2 storey) 3 bed 4 bed
Construction €137,709 €143,371 €151,376 €160,521 €169,682
All-in €175,271 €181,771 €190,456 €200,726 €211,062

Local Authority Housing Data

 208. Deputy Anne Rabbitte Information on Anne Rabbitte Zoom on Anne Rabbitte asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government Information on Eoghan Murphy Zoom on Eoghan Murphy the local authorities that have undertaken adaptations and extensions to their social housing network in the first six months of 2017; the number of adaptations and extensions that were undertaken; and the value of the works for each local authority applicable, in tabular form. [40890/17]

Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government (Deputy Eoghan Murphy): Information on Eoghan Murphy Zoom on Eoghan Murphy The Disabled Persons Grant Scheme provides funding for adaptations to existing social housing stock such as grab rails, disabled access ramps, wet rooms, etc. The Scheme also provides for extensions in cases of overcrowding.  

In order to ensure that there were no delays for priority and urgent cases under the scheme, all local authorities were advised on 24 March 2017 that they could undertake works of up to 65% of their 2016 allocation in advance of the 2017 allocations issuing. This allowed local authorities to plan and progress works under the scheme throughout the year. My Department advised all local authorities of their full 2017 DPG allocations on 12 September 2017.

Local authorities are required to submit claims under the scheme by the end of November each year. Accordingly, my Department does not compile statistics on the take-up on the scheme until year-end. In 2016, some 1,500 adaptations were completed under the scheme and, as the funding for 2017 has been maintained at 2016 levels, a similar level of take-up would be expected this year.

Land Availability

 209. Deputy Anne Rabbitte Information on Anne Rabbitte Zoom on Anne Rabbitte asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government Information on Eoghan Murphy Zoom on Eoghan Murphy the amount of green field land that each county council owns in tabular form. [40891/17]

 210. Deputy Anne Rabbitte Information on Anne Rabbitte Zoom on Anne Rabbitte asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government Information on Eoghan Murphy Zoom on Eoghan Murphy the amount of zoned green field land that each county council owns in tabular form. [40892/17]

Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government (Deputy Eoghan Murphy): Information on Eoghan Murphy Zoom on Eoghan Murphy I propose to take Questions Nos. 209 and 210 together.

  Each local authority is required to maintain a register of all lands its owns or leases.  Details of the entire portfolio of land held by all local authorities, for all purposes, is not available in my Department. However, my Department, working with local authorities and the Housing Agency, has collated details of local authority lands acquired for housing purposes.

  A key objective of the Rebuilding Ireland Action Plan for Housing and Homelessness is to increase the supply of high quality social housing and homes at more affordable price points, on local authority lands as quickly as possible, particularly in areas where demand is greatest. To this end, on 27 April 2017, details of some 1,700 hectares of land in local authority and Housing Agency ownership were published on the Rebuilding Ireland Housing Land Map, with the potential to deliver some 42,500 homes nationally. These sites can be viewed at the following link: http://rebuildingireland.ie/news/rebuilding-ireland-land-map/.

  In order to ensure a consistent and comprehensive approach to the development of these lands, all local authorities have been requested to prepare Strategic Development and Management Plans for housing lands in their ownership, with particular emphasis on prioritising those sites with the most potential to deliver housing at scale, in the short to medium term.  As part of this process, local authorities have also been asked to confirm that the data held on the data base is fully up to date.

Vacant Properties Data

 211. Deputy Anne Rabbitte Information on Anne Rabbitte Zoom on Anne Rabbitte asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government Information on Eoghan Murphy Zoom on Eoghan Murphy the number of unoccupied houses awaiting acceptance of offer that each county council has on its stock book in tabular form. [40893/17]

Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government (Deputy Eoghan Murphy): Information on Eoghan Murphy Zoom on Eoghan Murphy My Department does not hold information on the number of unoccupied houses waiting acceptance of offer in each county council area.

  The allocation of social housing support to qualified households is a matter for the local authority concerned, in accordance with its allocation scheme made in accordance with section 22 of the Housing (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 2009 and associated Regulations.

Housing Assistance Payment Data

 212. Deputy Sean Fleming Information on Seán Fleming Zoom on Seán Fleming asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government Information on Eoghan Murphy Zoom on Eoghan Murphy the number of persons at the end of each month that were in receipt of the housing assistance payment in each of the years 2014 to 2016, and to date in 2017; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [40904/17]

Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government (Deputy Eoghan Murphy): Information on Eoghan Murphy Zoom on Eoghan Murphy The Housing Assistance Payment (HAP) is a flexible and immediate housing support that is now available to all eligible households throughout the State. There are currently more than 27,000 households in receipt of HAP and more than 20,000 separate landlords and agents providing accommodation to households supported by the HAP scheme.

  In relation to the number of persons at the end of each month that were in receipt of HAP in each of the years since the scheme commenced, my Department does not collate this data.

  It should be borne in mind that the HAP scheme was implemented on a statutory phased pilot basis with an initial 7 local authorities operating the scheme for four months in 2014, an additional 11 in 2015, a further 10 in 2016 and HAP became a national scheme with its extension to the 3 remaining local authorities in the Dublin Region on 1 March 2017. At the end of 2014, 485 eligible households were supported by the scheme and an additional 5,680 eligible households were supported in 2015.  Further details can be found at the following weblink: http://www.housing.gov.ie/housing/social-housing/social-and-affordble/overall-social-housing-provision.

  Since 2016, my Department publishes a breakdown of the additional households supported by HAP by each local authority every quarter. This breakdown, which also includes the number of Rent Supplement transfers and new applicants, is available on my Department's website at the following weblink: http://www.housing.gov.ie/housing/social-housing/social-and-affordble/overall-social-housing-provision.

  My Department continues to keep the operation of the HAP scheme under review. In general, I am satisfied with the operation of HAP and I consider it to be a key vehicle for meeting housing need and fulfilling the ambitious programmes outlined under the Rebuilding Ireland Action Plan for Housing and Homelessness.

Housing Adaptation Grant Eligibility

 213. Deputy Anne Rabbitte Information on Anne Rabbitte Zoom on Anne Rabbitte asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government Information on Eoghan Murphy Zoom on Eoghan Murphy the reason incomes are taken into account for persons (details supplied) who have applied for the housing adaptation grant for persons with a disability. [40936/17]

Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government (Deputy Eoghan Murphy): Information on Eoghan Murphy Zoom on Eoghan Murphy For the purposes of the Housing Adaptation Grant for People with a Disability, household income is calculated as the annual gross income of the registered property owner together with all household members over 18 (or over 23 if in full-time education) in the previous tax year.

Certain income is not taken into account, or is disregarded, in calculating household income, including €5,000 for each member of the household up to 18 years, Family Income Supplement, Domiciliary Care Allowance and Carer's Benefit or Carer's Allowance if paid in respect of the person to whom the grant application relates.

The application of a household means test is intended as a way of spreading the benefits of these grant schemes as widely as possible and to ensure fairness and value for money in their operation. The schemes are therefore more sharply focused towards those with greatest needs.

Tenant Purchase Scheme Eligibility

 214. Deputy Martin Heydon Information on Martin Heydon Zoom on Martin Heydon asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government Information on Eoghan Murphy Zoom on Eoghan Murphy if one bedroom units are specifically excluded under the terms of the 2016 tenant purchase scheme; if exceptions can be made in cases; if this area has been reviewed as part of the review of the terms of the scheme; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [40997/17]

Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government (Deputy Eoghan Murphy): Information on Eoghan Murphy Zoom on Eoghan Murphy The Tenant (Incremental) Purchase Scheme came into operation on 1 January 2016.  The Scheme is open to eligible tenants, including joint tenants, of local authority houses that are available for sale under the Scheme.  To be eligible, tenants must meet certain criteria, including having a minimum reckonable income of €15,000 per annum and having been in receipt of social housing support for at least 1 year.

The Housing (Sale of Local Authority Houses) Regulations 2015 governing the Scheme provide for a number of specified classes of houses to be excluded from sale, including houses provided to local authorities under Part V of the Planning and Development Act 2000, as amended, houses specifically designed for older persons, group Traveller housing and houses provided to facilitate people with disabilities transferring from institutional care to community-based living.

Housing authorities may, within the provisions of the Regulations, exclude certain houses which, in the opinion of the authority, should not be sold for reasons such as proper stock or estate management.  It is a matter for each individual housing authority to administer the Scheme in its operational area in line with the over-arching provisions of the governing legislation for the scheme, and in a manner appropriate to its housing requirements.

In line with the commitment given in the Rebuilding Ireland Action Plan for Housing and Homelessness, a review of the first 12 months of the Tenant Purchase scheme’s operation has been undertaken. The review has incorporated analysis of comprehensive data received from local authorities regarding the operation of the scheme during 2016 and a wide-ranging public consultation process which saw submissions received from individuals, elected representatives and organisations.

The review is now complete and a full report setting out findings and recommendations has been prepared.  Following consultation with relevant Departments on implementation arrangements, I expect that definitive proposals will be submitted to me very shortly.

Vacant Properties Data

 215. Deputy Lisa Chambers Information on Lisa Chambers Zoom on Lisa Chambers asked the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar the number of vacant housing units his Department has under its control; his plans to bring these units back into use; the timeframe for them to be made available for housing; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [40857/17]

 216. Deputy Lisa Chambers Information on Lisa Chambers Zoom on Lisa Chambers asked the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar the number of housing units the Defence Forces has that are classified as marital quarters; the number of those units that are vacant; the state of repair those units are in; the timeframe for the units to become available; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [40858/17]

Minister of State at the Department of Defence (Deputy Paul Kehoe): Information on Paul Kehoe Zoom on Paul Kehoe I propose to take Questions Nos. 215 and 216 together.

  The Department commenced a process of phased withdrawal from Married Quarters for serving Defence Forces personnel almost twenty years ago. As a result, the number of family type accommodation units currently being used by serving Defence Forces personnel, as advised by the military authorities, now stands at twenty two (22).   

  The military authorities have also advised that there are some sixty-two (62) vacant former Married Quarter properties.

  Fourteen (14) of these properties are located outside barracks and are presently scheduled for disposal.

  Accommodation located within barracks is not disposed of. The majority (45) of the vacant properties that fall within this category are located within the Curragh Camp. In some instances, depending on its condition, the accommodation has been adapted to meet the needs of the Defence Forces for use as single living in accommodation. In other instances, properties, which are no longer considered to be economically viable, are demolished as resources permit, in order to address health and safety concerns or to make way for other required facilities.

  In general, these vacated houses would require a level of investment to bring the units up to the standards now in place for such properties, which would not be cost effective in the long term.


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