Houses of the Oireachtas

All parliamentary debates are now being published on our new website. The publication of debates on this website will cease in December 2018.

Go to oireachtas.ie

 Header Item Written Answers Nos. 621 - 633
 Header Item Residential Tenancies Board
 Header Item Rental Accommodation Standards
 Header Item Motor Tax
 Header Item Naval Service Promotions
 Header Item Air Corps Recruitment

Tuesday, 17 October 2017

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 960 No. 4

First Page Previous Page Page of 86 Next Page Last Page

Written Answers Nos. 621 - 633

Residential Tenancies Board

 621. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan Information on Thomas P. Broughan Zoom on Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government Information on Eoghan Murphy Zoom on Eoghan Murphy if the suspension of the Residential Tenancies Board’s allocations to local authorities for inspections of rental accommodation continued into 2017; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [43981/17]

 622. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan Information on Thomas P. Broughan Zoom on Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government Information on Eoghan Murphy Zoom on Eoghan Murphy the ring-fenced budget 2018 funding for inspections of rental accommodation in 2018, as committed to in the rental strategy; and if he will make a statement on the matter.  [43982/17]

 623. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan Information on Thomas P. Broughan Zoom on Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government Information on Eoghan Murphy Zoom on Eoghan Murphy the status of the shared service for inspections by local authorities of privately rented accommodation promised in the Rebuilding Ireland strategy; the overall responsibility for management, oversight and delivery of all aspects of the inspections process; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [43983/17]

Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government (Deputy Eoghan Murphy): Information on Eoghan Murphy Zoom on Eoghan Murphy I propose to take Questions Nos. 621 to 623, inclusive, together.

Section 176 of the Residential Tenancies Act provides that the fees received by the Residential Tenancies Board under the Act shall be paid into, or disposed of for the benefit of, the Exchequer in such manner as I may direct. By various Ministerial Directions since 2005, a percentage of fees received by the RTB under the Act has been allocated for transfer to local authorities for the purpose of the performance of their functions under the Housing Acts in relation to private rented accommodation, including rental standards inspections.

Since 1 July 2016, the RTB retains the entirety of the fees received under the Act to defray its costs. The RTB is in a position to continue the support for local authority inspections of rental accommodation until the end of 2017, using surpluses accumulated in the allocations for local authorities over previous years.

In December 2016, the Strategy for the Rental Sector, one of the key measures promised under Rebuilding Ireland: Action Plan for Housing and Homeless, was published. The Strategy sets out a range of measures under the headings of Security, Supply, Standards and Services to address both immediate and long-term issues affecting the supply, cost, accessibility and quality of rental accommodation.

Action 22 of the Strategy commits to developing a more efficient and effective approach to inspections, through a shared services type model, to increase efficiency, transparency and standardisation in inspection and enforcement across all local authority areas.

To this end, my Department has established a working group, in conjunction with the County and City Management Association, Local Authorities and the RTB, to examine and develop the most appropriate approach to achieve this aim.  The Group is developing proposals for a system of shared support services for the standards inspections and enforcement functions for the 31 local authorities, in areas including ICT, legal services, capacity development and resource and performance management.

Additional funding is being made available to support local authorities' inspections and increase the numbers of private rental properties being inspected, with detailed funding arrangements for 2018 to be announced in due course.  The Strategy for the Rental Sector sets the objective to increase inspection numbers incrementally each year with the aim of achieving a 25% annual inspection coverage rate by 2021. To achieve this, annual targets for both inspection and compliance will be agreed with local authorities.

Question No. 624 answered with Question No. 609.

Rental Accommodation Standards

 625. Deputy Róisín Shortall Information on Róisín Shortall Zoom on Róisín Shortall asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government Information on Eoghan Murphy Zoom on Eoghan Murphy if SI 17 of 2017 Housing (Standards for Rented Houses) applies to management companies of apartment blocks; the standard to which a suitable fire detection and alarm system must conform; and if he will make a statement on the matter.  [44026/17]

Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government (Deputy Eoghan Murphy): Information on Eoghan Murphy Zoom on Eoghan Murphy All properties let, or available to let, must comply with the Housing (Standards for Rented Houses) Regulations.  All landlords have a legal obligation to ensure that their rented properties comply with the Regulations, including management companies where they are also landlords.  Responsibility for enforcement of the Regulations rests with the relevant local authority.

  Following enactment of the Housing (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 2009, local authorities have a strengthened legislative framework available to them which provides for the issuing of Improvement Notices and Prohibition Notices, where landlords are in breach of their obligations. 

  Fines for non-compliance with the regulations were also increased; the maximum fine increased from €3,000 to €5,000 and the fine for each day of a continuing offence increased from €250 to €400.

  On 1 July 2017, the Housing (Standards for Rented Houses) Regulations 2017 came into operation with new requirements focusing on tenant safety, including new measures covering heating appliances, carbon monoxide and window safety.

  Article 10 of the Regulations sets out the Fire Safety requirements, specifically:

  "10. (1) Each house shall contain a suitable self-contained fire detection and alarm system.

  (2) Each house shall contain a suitably located fire blanket.

  (3) Each self-contained house in a multi-unit building shall contain a suitable fire detection and alarm system and an emergency evacuation plan.

  (4) A suitable fire detection and alarm system shall be provided in common areas within a multi-unit building.

  (5) Emergency lighting shall be provided in all common areas within a multiunit building.

  (6) Fire detection and alarm systems and emergency lighting systems required under Regulation 10(4) and 10(5) shall be maintained in accordance with current standards.

  (7) In this Regulation:

  “current standards” means standards produced by the National Standards Authority of Ireland for Fire Detection and Fire Alarm Systems in Buildings and for Emergency Lighting;”

  To complement this, my Department published a detailed guidance document in August 2017 to assist local authorities with implementation of these Regulations, including details that will assist landlords in demonstrating compliance with each aspect of the Regulations, including fire safety. The guidelines can be found at the following link:

http://www.housing.gov.ie/housing/private-rented-housing/minimum-standards/guidelines-housing-authorities-minimum-standards.

Motor Tax

 626. Deputy Maria Bailey Information on Maria Bailey Zoom on Maria Bailey asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government Information on Eoghan Murphy Zoom on Eoghan Murphy the authority or organisation that makes the decision on the classification with regard to motor tax (details supplied) on used or already registered private motor vehicles.  [44068/17]

Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government (Deputy Eoghan Murphy): Information on Eoghan Murphy Zoom on Eoghan Murphy Private motor vehicles are classified for purposes of motor tax based on the information contained in the Vehicle Registration Certificate (VRC). This certificate is issued by the Office of the Revenue Commissioners when the Vehicle Registration Tax (VRT) has been paid and is based on the information contained in the Certificate of Conformity provided by the vehicle manufacturer which sets out factors such as engine size, CO2 emissions, vehicle weight, type of vehicle.

  Motor tax for private (used/already registered) vehicles is based on the construction and use of a vehicle. Individual tax bands are based on either the engine size (c.c.) of the vehicle or the CO2 emissions as detailed in the Vehicle Registration Certificate. Lead policy responsibility in relation to the setting of motor tax rates rests with me as Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government. 

Naval Service Promotions

 627. 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 reason the case made by an organisation (details supplied) to have a suitably qualified member of the Naval Service Reserve commissioned to the rank of ensign has not been resolved in view of the fact that the matter was initially raised in June 2016; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [43567/17]

 628. 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 reason the case made by an organisation (details supplied) to have a suitably qualified member of the Naval Service Reserve commissioned to the rank of ensign has not been resolved in view of the fact that this matter was initially raised in May 2017; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [43568/17]

 629. 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 reason the military authorities refused to commission a person in 2014 to the rank of ensign for which they were suitably qualified (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [43569/17]

 630. 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 reason the military authorities are now rejecting the findings of a medical officer by re-classifying a Naval Service Reserve as medically unfit to be commissioned; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [43570/17]

 631. 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 reason a member of the Naval Service Reserve who is suitably qualified for commissioning to the rank of ensign cannot be reimbursed the cost for a Naval Service officer's dress uniform (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter.  [43571/17]

 632. 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 if he will meet with members of an organisation (details supplied) at least once a year as agreed on 12 July 2016; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [43572/17]

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. 627 to 632, inclusive, together.

  I am informed by the military authorities that the individual referred to by the Deputy does not meet the medical standard required for military service at the rank of commissioned officer in the Naval Service Reserve, due to a medical condition. The Naval Service have re-iterated that the individual’s medical condition is incompatible with service at sea, especially in the military environment.

  I am informed that a request for a medical derogation was made in 2015. The Deputy Chief of Staff (Support) considered the case and received the opinions of both the Director of Legal Services and Director of the Medical Branch. The Deputy Chief of Staff (Support) decided that a medical derogation could not be granted.

  With regard to the reimbursement of a Naval Service Commissioned Officer’s Dress Uniform, I have sought additional information and I will revert to the Deputy when this information is to hand.   

  Finally, I am meeting members of RDFRA this Thursday (19 October 2017) and I look forward to having a positive discussion with them on matters of importance to their members.

Air Corps Recruitment

 633. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan Information on Thomas P. Broughan Zoom on Thomas P. Broughan asked the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar if there will be a general service recruitment campaign for the Air Corps launched before the year end; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [43911/17]

Minister of State at the Department of Defence (Deputy Paul Kehoe): Information on Paul Kehoe Zoom on Paul Kehoe The Government is committed to maintaining the establishment of the Permanent Defence Force at 9,500 personnel, comprising of 7,520 Army, 886 Air Corps and 1,094 Naval Service as stated in the 2015 White Paper on Defence.

The manpower requirements of the Permanent Defence Force are monitored on an ongoing basis in accordance with the operational requirements of the three services. Personnel are posted on the basis of operational need across the organisation both at home and abroad. As there is a significant turnover of personnel in the Defence Forces, targeted recruitment takes place on a regular basis so as to maintain personnel numbers at or near the agreed strength levels.

The Defence Forces do not run a general service campaign specifically for the Air Corps. The Air Corps induct personnel through a series of competitions including Cadetships, Air Corps Trainee Military Aircraft Technicians and through transfer of personnel from general service in the Army.  In this regard, 12 General Service Recruits enlisted in March 2017, have passed their training, and will now be posted to units in the Air Corps.  A further 11 general service recruits enlisted in October 2017 have commenced basic training alongside the Trainee Military Aircraft Technicians inducted in the same month.  It is expected that these recruits will also be assigned to Air Corps units on completion of their training.

On 13 March 2017, a class of 11 Trainee Military Aircraft Technicians began their training. This was augmented by an additional 11 Trainee Military Aircraft Technicians who joined in October 2017. 

With the support of the Chief of Staff, it is intended to continue to recruit new personnel in order to ensure that the Defence Forces retain the capacity to operate effectively across all roles and to undertake the tasks laid down by Government, both at home and overseas.


Last Updated: 19/02/2020 09:12:10 First Page Previous Page Page of 86 Next Page Last Page