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 Header Item Written Answers Nos. 258-277
 Header Item Carer's Allowance Appeals
 Header Item Invalidity Pension Appeals
 Header Item Electric Vehicles
 Header Item Tenant Purchase Scheme Review
 Header Item Property Registration
 Header Item Local Authority Housing Data
 Header Item Brexit Issues
 Header Item Local Authority Housing Rents
 Header Item Local Authority Housing Data
 Header Item Irish Water Expenditure
 Header Item Housing Assistance Payment Administration
 Header Item Derelict Sites
 Header Item Approved Housing Bodies
 Header Item Electric Vehicles
 Header Item Archaeological Sites
 Header Item Toghcháin d'Údarás na Gaeltachta
 Header Item Waterways Issues
 Header Item Electric Vehicles

Wednesday, 27 June 2018

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 970 No. 8

First Page Previous Page Page of 80 Next Page Last Page

Written Answers Nos. 258-277

Carer's Allowance Appeals

 258. Deputy Willie Penrose Information on Willie Penrose Zoom on Willie Penrose asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection Information on Regina Doherty Zoom on Regina Doherty the position in relation to a social welfare appeal against the decision to refuse an application for carer’s allowance by a person (details supplied); if same will be expedited; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [28335/18]

Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection (Deputy Regina Doherty): Information on Regina Doherty Zoom on Regina Doherty The Social Welfare Appeals Office has advised me that an appeal by the person concerned was registered in that office on 27th March 2018. It is a statutory requirement of the appeals process that the relevant papers and comments by or on behalf of the Deciding Officer on the grounds of appeal be sought from the Department of Social Protection. These papers have been received in the Social Welfare Appeals Office and the case will be referred to an Appeals Officer who will make a summary decision on the appeal based on documentary evidence presented or, if required, hold an oral hearing.

  The Social Welfare Appeals Office functions independently of the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection and of the Department and is responsible for determining appeals against decisions in relation to social welfare entitlements.

  I hope this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.

Invalidity Pension Appeals

 259. Deputy Willie Penrose Information on Willie Penrose Zoom on Willie Penrose asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection Information on Regina Doherty Zoom on Regina Doherty the position in relation to a social welfare appeal against the decision to refuse an application for invalidity pension by a person (details supplied); if same will be expedited; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [28336/18]

Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection (Deputy Regina Doherty): Information on Regina Doherty Zoom on Regina Doherty The Social Welfare Appeals Office has advised me that an appeal by the person concerned was registered in that office on 11th April 2018. It is a statutory requirement of the appeals process that the relevant Departmental papers and comments by the Deciding Officer on the grounds of appeal be sought. When these papers have been received from the Department, the case in question will be referred to an Appeals Officer who will make a summary decision on the appeal based on the documentary evidence presented or, if required, hold an oral appeal hearing.

  The Social Welfare Appeals Office functions independently of the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection and of the Department and is responsible for determining appeals against decisions in relation to social welfare entitlements.

  I hope this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.

Electric Vehicles

 260. Deputy John Brady Information on John Brady Zoom on John Brady asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection Information on Regina Doherty Zoom on Regina Doherty if e-car charging points are provided at her Department's buildings in Dublin or in other locations; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [28394/18]

Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection (Deputy Regina Doherty): Information on Regina Doherty Zoom on Regina Doherty There are no e-car charging points provided at the Department’s buildings in Dublin, or at any other locations throughout the country.

Tenant Purchase Scheme Review

 261. Deputy Charlie McConalogue Information on Charlie McConalogue Zoom on Charlie McConalogue asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government Information on Eoghan Murphy Zoom on Eoghan Murphy when the report on the review of the tenants purchase scheme will be published; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28091/18]

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 one year.

In line with the commitment given in Rebuilding Ireland, a review of the first 12 months of the 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 took place in 2017 and saw submissions received from individuals, elected representatives and organisations.

The review is now complete and a full report has been prepared setting out findings and recommendations.

In finalising the report some further consultation was necessary and due consideration had to be given to possible implementation arrangements. These matters are now almost completed and I expect to be in a position to publish the outcome of the review shortly.

Property Registration

 262. Deputy Dessie Ellis Information on Dessie Ellis Zoom on Dessie Ellis asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government Information on Eoghan Murphy Zoom on Eoghan Murphy the mechanism for registering a property; the person or body with responsibility for ensuring that all properties are registered; the steps or sanctions taken if a company or person fails to register a property; the steps that are taken to ensure that companies that are resident abroad are compliant with the relevant legislation here in this regard; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28094/18]

Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government (Deputy Eoghan Murphy): Information on Eoghan Murphy Zoom on Eoghan Murphy Under the Registration of Deeds and Title Act 2006, the Property Registration Authority (PRA) was established as and from 4 November 2006.  The PRA replaces the Registrar of Deeds and Titles as the registering authority in relation to property registration in Ireland and, subject to the above Act, is independent in the performance of its functions.

Property is registered in the Land Registry on foot of applications for registration, in the prescribed forms as provided for in the Land Registration Rules 2012 - 2013, lodged with the PRA.  The PRA is responsible for registration on foot of such applications. 

The responsibility for registering the ownership of a property, or an amendment to registered property, rests with the owner of the property or the interest in the registered land.

While there is no sanction in registration of title legislation, failure to register a property carries significant risk for a person or entity acquiring title. If the property is subject to compulsory first registration and an application to register the title is not made in the PRA within six months of the purchase, the legal title in the property does not vest in the purchaser. If a person acquires an interest in registered land and fails to make an application for registration in relation to the said interest, this can result in the loss of priority.

Companies resident abroad are in the same position as Irish companies or persons in that the responsibility lies with them to apply for registration with similar consequences for non-registration.

Local Authority Housing Data

 263. 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 he will report on the €400 million social housing fund that was to be ringfenced following the sale of Bord Gáis Energy and announced in budget 2015; the number of social housing units that were built with the €400 million; the status of the pilot affordable rental scheme that was subsequently announced; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28129/18]

Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government (Deputy Eoghan Murphy): Information on Eoghan Murphy Zoom on Eoghan Murphy Prior to the publication of the Rebuilding Ireland Action Plan for Housing and Homelessness, it was planned to establish a financial vehicle to facilitate the aggregation of private investment into a fund for subsequent lending as project finance. The intention was that this investment would be off-balance sheet and in Budget 2015, the Government announced that €400m of public investment would be made available, including the proceeds from the sale of Bord Gáis, to provide 2,000 homes. The objective was that this investment could leverage private sector finance from the EIB, ISIF, pension funds, credit unions and other financial institutions.

A structured, formal process was put in place to facilitate engagement with these bodies.  A body called the Social Housing Investment Proposals Clearing House Group was established in 2015 to examine and consider proposals and to meet with the companies, groups and institutions involved. However, despite a detailed investigation of options to use the available funding in this way, including a high level of engagement with potential social housing providers and potential financiers of social housing, no new model could be identified that would, of itself, be capable of providing and/or financing social housing on an off-balance sheet basis and that would be capable of utilising the available funding.  

In response to this outcome, it was decided to modify the original commitment in relation to the €400m funding to provide €10m per annum, indexed for inflation, over a longer period (20 years), which could be used to secure the development of a pilot affordable rental scheme, as envisaged in Rebuilding Ireland. Provision was made for €10 million to be allocated to my Department's Vote in 2017.

Furthermore and taking account of the work and analysis of the Clearing House Group, it was subsequently considered that it would be more constructive to use the existing social housing funding and support mechanisms and, where appropriate, make adjustments to those mechanisms, in order to provide a framework with more realistic prospects of harnessing private investment in an off-balance sheet manner.

This approach resulted in the design of an alternative delivery mechanism, the Enhanced Long-term Leasing Social Housing Scheme, which was launched on 31 January 2018. Funding is in place to support the delivery of this new scheme and the principal objective of the scheme is to encourage larger levels of private investment in social housing, while ensuring that the resulting leasing arrangement is off-balance sheet in respect of Government expenditure. The scheme is targeted at new build or new-to-the-market properties to be delivered at scale and will complement the existing long-term leasing arrangements, which will continue to be available for leasing existing properties.

In respect of the commitment to develop an affordable rental model, this is now being progressed through an initial pilot project in Dublin, based on a cost rental model, where local authorities can release the value of their land, and also access funding for enabling  infrastructure, to reduce the construction costs of providing such rental units and facilitate the delivery of the optimal number of affordable homes to rent for low- to moderate-income households, as part of mixed-tenure developments.  Lands held by local authorities, particularly in urban areas where there are high rental costs and significant housing demand, are being identified for cost rental projects, including a large-scale cost rental site in Dublin city, details of which I expect to announce shortly.

Brexit Issues

 264. 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 he is represented on the Dublin Region Homeless Executive working group which is examining the possible impact of Brexit on homeless services; when this working group will report to him; the additional resources that will be required to cater to an increased demand for shelter post-Brexit; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28131/18]

Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government (Deputy Eoghan Murphy): Information on Eoghan Murphy Zoom on Eoghan Murphy My Department’s role in relation to homelessness involves the provision of a national framework of policy, legislation and funding to underpin the role of housing authorities in addressing homelessness at local level.  Statutory responsibility in relation to the provision of homeless accommodation and related services rests with individual housing authorities.

The group referred to is internal to the Dublin Regional Homeless Executive (DRHE) and is designed to ensure that, from an operational perspective, the DRHE has robust systems in place to deal with any increase that may arise in the number of non-nationals seeking assistance from homeless services following the United Kingdom's withdrawal from the European Union.  While therefore not represented on this group, my Department works closely with the DRHE in relation to homelessness issues on an ongoing basis and, in that context, will be engaging in a similar manner in relation to any issues emerging from the working group.

Local Authority Housing Rents

 265. Deputy Mattie McGrath Information on Mattie McGrath Zoom on Mattie McGrath asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government Information on Eoghan Murphy Zoom on Eoghan Murphy if there are changes being proposed with respect to the operation of the differential rent scheme; if individual local authorities have the power to make changes to the scheme without a statutory instrument authorising such a change; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28136/18]

 266. Deputy Mattie McGrath Information on Mattie McGrath Zoom on Mattie McGrath asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government Information on Eoghan Murphy Zoom on Eoghan Murphy the number of local authorities that have made changes to the operation of their differential rent schemes (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28137/18]

 267. 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 the position regarding the review of local authority social housing differential rents schemes being carried out under the Rebuilding Ireland Action Plan for Housing and Homelessness; if as part of the review he is giving consideration to exercising his powers under section 31 of the Housing (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 2009 to make regulations to ensure that carer’s payments are disregarded for rent assessment purposes; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28143/18]

Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government (Deputy Eoghan Murphy): Information on Eoghan Murphy Zoom on Eoghan Murphy I propose to take Questions Nos. 265 to 267, inclusive, together.

At present the making of rent schemes and the setting of rent levels is a matter for each local authority under the provisions of the Housing Act 1966. The making or amending of such schemes is not a reserved function and does not require the approval of the elected members, however it is subject to the influence of the elected members through the annual estimates process.The Chief Executive of the authority makes the (non-statutory) rent scheme subject to broad principles laid down by my Department in Circular letter HRT 3/2002 dated March 6th 2002.

Considerable work has been carried out by my Department in developing a draft national differential rents framework under section 31 of the Housing (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 2009. Such a framework had as its main aim the facilitation of a significant harmonisation in local authority rents, including a set of standardised income disregards, whilst retaining the general principle of rents related to household income.

The introduction of a rent framework could mean that the amount of rent payable by some households may be subject to change in some cases. This work is now being examined further in the light of the broader commitment given in the Rebuilding Ireland Action Plan for Housing and Homelessness, to review the disparate systems of differential rent for social housing in place across local authorities. The overall objective is to ensure that housing supports are fair and sustainable, prioritise those on lowest incomes and avoid creating social welfare traps that may prevent people from either returning to work or to the private housing market.

I expect that the review will be completed in the near future.

Local Authority Housing Data

 268. 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 the number of persons with disabilities on the 2018 local authorities social housing waiting lists nationally; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28165/18]

Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government (Deputy Eoghan Murphy): Information on Eoghan Murphy Zoom on Eoghan Murphy Information on the number of households qualified for and in need of social housing support whose need has not been met is set out in the statutory Summary of Social Housing Assessments (SSHA) which, since 2016, is carried out annually.  

  The most recent assessment was carried out in 2017, full details of which are available on my Department's website, at the following link:

  http://www.housing.gov.ie/sites/default/files/publications/files/sha_summary_2017.pdf.

  The SSHA for 2018 is currently in progress and I expect to be in a position to publish the report later in the year.

Irish Water Expenditure

 269. Deputy Clare Daly Information on Clare Daly Zoom on Clare Daly asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government Information on Eoghan Murphy Zoom on Eoghan Murphy the reason Irish Water spent in the region of €200,000 on advertisements in a national newspaper rather than a newspaper (details supplied) with greater circulation, which would have cost less; if the advertisements for CPO were for Fingal and Dublin only; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28213/18]

Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government (Deputy Eoghan Murphy): Information on Eoghan Murphy Zoom on Eoghan Murphy The Water Services Acts 2007-2017 set out clearly the arrangements in place for the delivery of water and wastewater services by Irish Water, and further set out the scrutiny and oversight provisions that apply in respect of these arrangements.  Since 1 January 2014, Irish Water has statutory responsibility for all aspects of the planning, delivery and operation of water and wastewater services at national, regional and local levels, including day to day operational matters.

The Water Services (No. 2) Act 2013 provides that responsibility for the independent economic regulation of the water sector is assigned to the Commission for Regulation of Utilities (CRU) which has statutory responsibility for protecting the interests of customers.  An important aspect of the CRU’s work is ensuring that Irish Water’s revenue is spent appropriately to improve services for customers.

The position therefore in relation to the notification of compulsory purchase orders relating to water and wastewater services is that such notifications are an operational matter for Irish Water.  Irish Water is subject to independent oversight by the CRU in respect of its efficiently incurred costs.

If Deputies have any queries on specific issues in relation to water services, Irish Water has established a dedicated team to deal with representations and queries from public representatives.  The team can be contacted via email to oireachtasmembers@water.ie or by telephone on a dedicated number, 1890 578 578.

Housing Assistance Payment Administration

 270. Deputy Robert Troy Information on Robert Troy Zoom on Robert Troy asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government Information on Eoghan Murphy Zoom on Eoghan Murphy his plans to make changes to the housing assistance payment model in order to speed up the process (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28252/18]

Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government (Deputy Eoghan Murphy): Information on Eoghan Murphy Zoom on Eoghan Murphy I refer to the replies to Question Nos 589 of 22 May 2018 and 625 of 8 March 2018.

The position in relation to the processing times for Housing Assistance Payment (HAP) applications remains unchanged. Once a HAP application has been received and confirmed as valid by the relevant local authority, it is then processed by the HAP Shared Service Centre.  On average, HAP applications are processed by the HAP SCC within 1 working day of receipt.

I am satisfied with the operation of the HAP scheme and I consider it to be a key vehicle for meeting housing need and fulfilling the ambitious programme under the Rebuilding Ireland Action Plan for Housing and Homelessness.

Derelict Sites

 271. Deputy Noel Rock Information on Noel Rock Zoom on Noel Rock asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government Information on Eoghan Murphy Zoom on Eoghan Murphy if renovation work or the selling of land at a location (details supplied) will be enforced under section 11(2)(a) of the Derelict Sites Act 1990; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28368/18]

Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government (Deputy Eoghan Murphy): Information on Eoghan Murphy Zoom on Eoghan Murphy The Derelict Sites Act 1990 provides local authorities with a range of powers to deal with derelict sites within their functional areas, including powers to require specified measures to be taken in relation to a derelict site, to impose a levy on sites which are included in the local authority’s derelict sites register, or to compulsorily acquire any derelict site. I understand from Dublin City Council that the particular site in question is not included in their Derelict Sites Register. Under the Act, I have no role to play as Minister in relation to particular sites where they are not included on the relevant authority's derelict sites register. 

It is open to any person to contact a local authority in relation to a particular site which may be considered a derelict site for the purposes of the Act. It is a matter for local authorities to determine the most appropriate use of the legislation within their respective functional areas.

Approved Housing Bodies

 272. Deputy Noel Rock Information on Noel Rock Zoom on Noel Rock asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government Information on Eoghan Murphy Zoom on Eoghan Murphy if the Housing Finance Agency or his Department have been approached for funding from approved housing bodies for the purchasing of properties at a location (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28371/18]

Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government (Deputy Eoghan Murphy): Information on Eoghan Murphy Zoom on Eoghan Murphy My Department offers a range of funding programmes to assist the voluntary sector with the delivery of social housing, including the Capital Advance Leasing Facility (CALF) and the Capital Assistance Scheme (CAS).

CALF is a facility, which is exclusively available to Approved Housing Bodies (AHBs), to assist them in accessing private or Housing Finance Agency (HFA) finance for the purchase, construction or refurbishment of units that will be made available for social housing purposes under the Social Housing Current Expenditure Programme (SHCEP).

In order for a CALF application to be advanced to my Department, there is a substantial amount of work to be progressed. It is essential to the overall process that an AHB engages at an early stage with the relevant local authority to discuss demand and general suitability of a proposed scheme/ units. Once the CALF application is submitted to my Department, the relevant local authority will be asked to provide formal comments on the proposal, including on the housing need in the locality, the local authority's intention to exercise their nomination rights, sustainable communities, financial details including market rent, and overall suitability. In this context, local authorities play a key role in the operation of the CALF facility. The Housing Agency will perform a financial appraisal of the application. My Department will then make a decision whether a proposed scheme is suitable for conditional approval for CALF funding.

To date, my Department has not received an application for funding for the aforementioned project. My Department is aware that an AHB has held discussions with Fingal County Council with regard to this project. However, the progression of the project to funding application stage is a matter between the local authority and the AHB in that context.

Electric Vehicles

 273. Deputy John Brady Information on John Brady Zoom on John Brady asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government Information on Eoghan Murphy Zoom on Eoghan Murphy if e-car charging points are provided at his Department's buildings in Dublin or in other locations; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28398/18]

Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government (Deputy Eoghan Murphy): Information on Eoghan Murphy Zoom on Eoghan Murphy There is one eCar charging point at the Custom House currently.  My Department’s Workplace Travel Plan (WTP) aims to encourage greater staff use of sustainable transport options when travelling to and from work, and to ensure that, where practicable, staff opt for sustainable transport options when conducting business on behalf of the Department.  My Department will keep the matter under review as the use of electric cars increases.

Archaeological Sites

 274. Deputy Peadar Tóibín Information on Peadar Tóibín Zoom on Peadar Tóibín asked the Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht Information on Josepha Madigan Zoom on Josepha Madigan if her attention has been drawn to the fact that there is a suspected mass Famine grave behind a location (details supplied); her plans to ascertain whether it is in fact a mass grave; and if, in the event it is found to be a mass grave, her plans to ensure that its location is marked appropriately. [28216/18]

Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht (Deputy Josepha Madigan): Information on Josepha Madigan Zoom on Josepha Madigan I am advised that a granite pillar was brought to the attention of my Department's National Monuments Service as possible evidence of the existence of a famine graveyard at the location in question. However, I understand that the Department's view is the origins and associations of the pillar are unlikely to relate to burials.

While there is insufficient evidence at this point for the marker to be recorded as an archaeological monument, I understand that my Department has given guidance to help local investigations to find out more about it and will be happy to advise on any such further information that may come to light.

Toghcháin d'Údarás na Gaeltachta

 275. D'fhiafraigh Deputy Peadar Tóibín Information on Peadar Tóibín Zoom on Peadar Tóibín den Aire Cultúir, Oidhreachta agus Gaeltachta Information on Josepha Madigan Zoom on Josepha Madigan céard iad na socraithe a bhí i bhfeidhm don toghchán deireanach le haghaidh Údarás na Gaeltachta in 2005 ó thaobh ionaid chomhairimh, foireann toghcháin agus ábhar breise a bhaineann leis na toghcháin sin, ar nós páipéir bhallóide; agus cén costas a bhí air. [28181/18]

Minister of State at the Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht (Deputy Joe McHugh): Information on Joe McHugh Zoom on Joe McHugh Mar gur rinneadh, le hachtú Acht na Gaeltachta 2012, aisghairm ar na forálacha reachtúil a bhain le toghcháin Údarás na Gaeltachta, níl aon ról reachtúil agam maidir leis an gceist atá ardaithe ag an Teachta.

  É sin ráite, tuigim gur i gcomhar leis na Cinn Comhairimh sna Comhairlí Contaetha Gaeltachta a rinneadh na socruithe maidir le To  ghchán 2005 d’Údarás na Gaeltachta a reáchtáil. Go bunúsach, mar sin, is iad na Cinn Comhairimh a bhí freagrach as na hionaid chomhairimh, foireann toghcháin agus na nithe gaolmhara eile a eagrú. Tuigim chomh maith gur bhain costas circa €380,000 leis an toghchán féin a reáchtáil.

Waterways Issues

 276. Deputy Catherine Martin Information on Catherine Martin Zoom on Catherine Martin asked the Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht Information on Josepha Madigan Zoom on Josepha Madigan if her attention has been drawn to the fact that Waterways Ireland has introduced a new set of permits blocking persons living aboard their boats from continuing to do so; her plans to increase the number of mooring points for houseboats on the Dublin canals and basins; and the reason canal dwellers are being removed from their homes. [28254/18]

Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht (Deputy Josepha Madigan): Information on Josepha Madigan Zoom on Josepha Madigan A regulatory system for boating on the Grand & Royal Canals and Barrow Navigation has been in place since November 2012 to ensure the investment in amenities and infrastructure along all three navigations is accessible to all boaters. Waterways Ireland introduced the current regulatory system in order to provide a mechanism by which the canal navigations would be available for all users in an equitable manner.

Since 2012 demand for long term berths has, however, outstripped supply at some locations, with a resultant impact that the infrastructure at these locations is not available to all those who wish to avail of those specific berths. The current system is also difficult to manage in ensuring that all vessels have appropriate and up-to-date permits. This is an important aspect of the regulatory system in providing a controlled environment so that our navigations can be open and utilised by all.

The Grand Canal Basin in Dublin is a much sought after location for long term mooring. Many vessels have come into the city centre location and have refused to leave. There are 55 berths in the inner basin of Grand Canal Dock.

Following a recent review of permitting, Waterways Ireland have decided to allocate 20 berths as Primarily Non-Residential Extended Mooring Permits which will allow owners to berth their vessel in a specified location, but they may stay on-board in Grand Canal Dock for a maximum of 90 nights in a 12 month period. The remaining 10 moorings have been allocated to visiting vessels who wish to moor in the dock for less than 5 days.

In June 2017 all boat owners currently moored in Grand Canal Dock were requested to indicate their preference for a Residential Extended Mooring Permit or a Primarily Non-Residential Extended Mooring Permit. The demand outweighed the supply for the Residential Extended Mooring Permits and Waterways Ireland applied the criteria noted in Section 3 to allocate these berths. Those who were unsuccessful in being offered a Residential Extended Mooring Permit were offered Primarily Non-Residential Extended Mooring Permits, if all other criteria were met.

Waterways Ireland only has planning permission for 20 houseboat/Residential moorings. Any permanent residential activity in excess of those 20 berths is in contravention of the 2013 planning approval.

Waterways Ireland have been in continuous communication with boat owners in Grand Canal Dock regarding the review and has provided boat owners with ample opportunity to make alternative arrangements should the decision to grant a Residential Extended Mooring Permit or a Primarily Non-Residential Extended Mooring Permit not be acceptable to them.

Electric Vehicles

 277. Deputy John Brady Information on John Brady Zoom on John Brady asked the Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht Information on Josepha Madigan Zoom on Josepha Madigan if e-car charging points are provided at her Department's buildings in Dublin or in other locations; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [28391/18]

Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht (Deputy Josepha Madigan): Information on Josepha Madigan Zoom on Josepha Madigan The management of offices occupied by my Department in Dublin and other locations is generally a matter for the Office of Public Works.

  There are currently five electric vehicles in operation in the National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS). I am advised that e-car charging facilities are available to the public at the Visitor Centre in Glenveagh National Park in Donegal. E-charging facilities for official vehicles are also located at the NPWS offices at Kilafin, Co Wicklow and at Muckross, Killarney, Co Kerry.

  My Department is exploring the scope for the provision of e-charging facilities at all National Parks.


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