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 Header Item Written Answers Nos. 55-72
 Header Item Disabled Drivers and Passengers Scheme
 Header Item Budget 2019
 Header Item NAMA Operations
 Header Item Credit Union Services
 Header Item Fuel Laundering
 Header Item Carbon Tax Implementation
 Header Item Insurance Costs
 Header Item Budget 2019
 Header Item Pension Levy Yield
 Header Item Ministerial Communications
 Header Item Official Engagements
 Header Item Decentralisation Programme Data
 Header Item Office of the Comptroller and Auditor General
 Header Item Garda Station Refurbishment
 Header Item National Botanic Gardens
 Header Item Garda Stations
 Header Item State Properties
 Header Item Flood Risk Assessments

Tuesday, 9 October 2018

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 973 No. 2

First Page Previous Page Page of 99 Next Page Last Page

Written Answers Nos. 55-72

Disabled Drivers and Passengers Scheme

 55. Deputy Paul Kehoe Information on Paul Kehoe Zoom on Paul Kehoe asked the Minister for Finance Information on Paschal Donohoe Zoom on Paschal Donohoe his plans to review the qualifying criteria for the disabled drivers and disabled passengers scheme; the primary medical certificate which underpins it; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [40773/18]

Minister for Finance (Deputy Paschal Donohoe): Information on Paschal Donohoe Zoom on Paschal Donohoe As you may be aware, the Disabled Drivers and Disabled Passengers (Tax Concessions) Scheme provides relief from VAT and VRT (up to a certain limit) on the purchase of an adapted car for transport of a person with specific severe and permanent physical disabilities, payment of a fuel grant, and an exemption from Motor Tax.

  To qualify for the Scheme an applicant must be in possession of a Primary Medical Certificate. To qualify for a Primary Medical Certificate, an applicant must be permanently and severely disabled within the terms of the Disabled Drivers and Disabled Passengers (Tax Concessions) Regulations 1994 and satisfy one of the following conditions:

  - be wholly or almost wholly without the use of both legs;

  - be wholly without the use of one leg and almost wholly without the use of the other leg such that the applicant is severely restricted as to movement of the lower limbs;

  - be without both hands or without both arms;

  - be without one or both legs;

  - be wholly or almost wholly without the use of both hands or arms and wholly or almost wholly without the use of one leg;

  - have the medical condition of dwarfism and have serious difficulties of movement of the lower limbs.

  The Scheme represents a significant tax expenditure. Between the Vehicle Registration Tax and VAT foregone, and the fuel grant, the scheme cost c €65m in each of 2016 and 2017. This figure does not include the revenue foregone in respect of the relief from Motor Tax provided to members of the Scheme.

  Given the scale and scope of the scheme, I have no plans to amend the qualifying medical criteria at this time.

Budget 2019

 56. Deputy Michael McGrath Information on Michael McGrath Zoom on Michael McGrath asked the Minister for Finance Information on Paschal Donohoe Zoom on Paschal Donohoe the estimated structural balance in 2019 for every €100 million spent in excess of the €800 million outlined in the summer economic statement; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [40774/18]

Minister for Finance (Deputy Paschal Donohoe): Information on Paschal Donohoe Zoom on Paschal Donohoe I can advise the Deputy that all else being equal, each €100 million will worsen the structural balance by c. 0.03 percentage points.

  As I have said previously, this is money that we would have to borrow. With public debt in Ireland among the highest per capita in the developed world the focus must be on decreasing, rather than increasing, our debt level.

  My Department recently published its 'Annual Report on Public Debt in Ireland 2018' which provides a comprehensive analysis of debt dynamics. The report clearly demonstrates the importance of continued prudent management of the public finances. It is crucial that we continue to stabilise the level of debt in Ireland and, subsequently, put it on a downward trajectory - this has been and will continue to be a key priority for Government.

  By reducing the burden of debt we will minimise the exposure of, and risks to, the economy.

NAMA Operations

 57. Deputy Bríd Smith Information on Bríd Smith Zoom on Bríd Smith asked the Minister for Finance Information on Paschal Donohoe Zoom on Paschal Donohoe if NAMA has interests, current or historical, in lands or debts connected to the current difficulties of a company (details supplied); and the detail of these interests and transactions, including dealings connected with the company or other companies. [40796/18]

Minister for Finance (Deputy Paschal Donohoe): Information on Paschal Donohoe Zoom on Paschal Donohoe I am advised that the company to which the Deputy refers was engaged by a receiver to undertake the construction of a residential development over which NAMA holds security. I am advised that the construction of the current phase of development has been completed. I am advised that the development is controlled by a receiver and the construction work on the site is governed by a contract between the receiver and the company, to which NAMA is not a party. Accordingly, the receiver is responsible for any engagement with the company.

The Deputy will be aware that I, as Minister for Finance, have no role in respect of NAMA's commercial operations or decisions, or those of its debtors and receivers. It would not therefore be appropriate for me to comment further on this matter.

Credit Union Services

 58. Deputy Pearse Doherty Information on Pearse Doherty Zoom on Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Finance Information on Paschal Donohoe Zoom on Paschal Donohoe the progress made on the confidence and supply commitment to develop a strategy for the growth and development of the credit union sector; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [40877/18]

Minister for Finance (Deputy Paschal Donohoe): Information on Paschal Donohoe Zoom on Paschal Donohoe The Government has a clear policy to support the strategic growth and development of credit unions delivering the comprehensive recommendations set out in the Commission on Credit Unions Report and the Credit Union Advisory Committee (CUAC) report in 2016, both of which involved extensive stakeholder engagement. CUAC remains an important adviser to me on strategic issues facing the sector, and the safety of members' savings and the security of the credit union sector as a whole are priorities for this Government.

Since 2011 my Department has put in place a number of measures to assist the credit union sector. These measures include:

- establishment of the Commission on Credit Unions in 2011;

- publication of the Credit Union and Co-operation with Overseas Regulators Act 2012;

- establishment of the Credit Union Restructuring Board, ReBo, which oversaw 82 restructuring projects involving 156 credit unions during its lifetime: these newly merged credit unions are now better positioned to harness the efficiencies of their increased scale to prudently develop products and services that their members are looking for now, and into the future.

- availability of €250 million for voluntary restructuring of credit unions facilitated by ReBo;

- establishment of a stabilisation levy to support credit unions that are undercapitalised but are otherwise viable; and

- establishment of a Resolution Fund for the resolution of financial instability in, or an imminent serious threat to the financial stability of, a Credit Union, as well as the provision of €250 million in 2011 to meet resolution costs anticipated at the time.

More recently, on the basis of a CUAC recommendation, an Implementation Group was established to oversee and monitor the implementation of the CUAC Report’s recommendations. The group, which meets monthly, is chaired by my Department and consists of one member from each of the representative bodies, one member from the CUAC and a member from the Central Bank. This group is an important forum for key stakeholders in the Credit Union Sector and has submitted papers on long-term lending and consultation and engagement to the Central Bank and is currently finalising a paper on Tiered Regulation.

In addition, following consultation with the Credit Union sector, revised regulations for credit unions commenced on 1st March 2018 which make changes to the investment and liquidity requirements and allow for greater diversification of investment income, including provision for up to c. €700 million investment in Tier 3 Approved Housing Bodies via a regulated vehicle.

While there are challenges to returns arising from the low yield environment and low loan to asset ratios, the sector continues to show signs of improvement reflected in growth in new lending, delivering c 35% of all unsecured consumer lending in 2017, a decrease in the level of reported arrears and an increase in reserves. Total assets have increased consistently for many years and currently stand at approximately €17.5 billion.

The Central Bank is due to publish a Consultation Paper in Q4 2018, as part of its review of the current long term lending limits for Credit Unions which may facilitate improvement in loan to asset ratios.

Business model development is another challenge facing the sector and to this end the Central Bank has set up a dedicated Business Model Unit within the Registrar of Credit Unions and has developed initiatives such as the CEO forum to address key constraints to, and enablers for, business model development. Business model development is also a focus of the CUAC, and I have specifically requested the committee to review barriers to and supports for collaborative efforts as well as SME lending, linking with the outcomes of the Local Public Banking report.

This Government recognises the important role of credit unions as a volunteer co-operative movement and its priorities remain the protection of members' savings, the financial stability of credit unions and the sector overall. The Government is determined to continue to support a strengthened and growing credit union movement. Credit unions are member owned and it is these members, with support from their representative bodies, who ultimately are responsible for setting and implementing their own individual strategic plans, with appropriate support from Government, which reflect the diverse nature of credit unions be they urban or rural, large or small, industrial or community.

Fuel Laundering

 59. Deputy Declan Breathnach Information on Declan Breathnach Zoom on Declan Breathnach asked the Minister for Finance Information on Paschal Donohoe Zoom on Paschal Donohoe further to Parliamentary Question No. 83 of 3 July 2018, if his attention has been drawn to new techniques being employed by fuel smugglers utilising a form of distillation of diesel fuel that successfully removes the marker; if his attention has been further drawn to the fact that a large tanker of diesel sludge was illegally dumped in Dundalk in recent weeks; if he will provide an increase in resources to capture those involved in fuel laundering; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [40929/18]

Minister for Finance (Deputy Paschal Donohoe): Information on Paschal Donohoe Zoom on Paschal Donohoe I am advised by Revenue that they recognise the serious threat that fuel fraud poses to legitimate business, consumers and the Exchequer and that tackling this criminal activity has been and remains a high priority.

  The measures implemented by Revenue to tackle the problem of fuel fraud include the introduction of stringent supply chain controls and reporting requirements for fuel transactions to minimise the scope for fraud and a programme of risk focused intelligence development and enforcement interventions involving fuel sampling. In addition, Revenue and HM Revenue and Customs in the United Kingdom undertook a joint initiative to find a new fiscal marker (Accutrace S10™) for use in marked fuels, which was introduced in Ireland and the United Kingdom from the beginning of April 2015. Accutrace S10™ is a colourless marker whose chemical properties are similar to those of diesel, rendering it resistant to conventional dye-washing laundering methods. All the indications are that the introduction of this new marker, together with the wide range of other measures taken to prevent and combat fraud, has had a major impact on the illicit fuel trade. Revenue has undertaken research to assess the impact of this strategy and published an analysis (available at http://www.revenue.ie/en/about/publications/oil-market-analysis.pdf) in January 2015 of oil market trends and, on the basis of a comparison of extrapolated pre-2013 trends with actual results for 2103 and 2014, estimated that the strategy pursued may have saved the Exchequer between €150 million and €200 million in 2014. Updated analysis published by Revenue (available at http://www.revenue.ie/en/about/publications/oil-market-2017.pdf) in April 2017 showed that the impact of Revenue’s initiatives may be contributing to a further uplift in receipts from diesel of up to €35 million per annum (based on 2016 levels of trade).

  Revenue is aware of attempts to remove the marker by using a distillation process. This involves heating the marked fuel to extremely high temperatures. This is a highly dangerous procedure, with significant physical health and safety implications for anyone involved. Revenue is arranging formal scientific analysis of fuel samples and equipment taken in the course of a recent operation to determine the nature and impact of any process to remove the fiscal marker. In the meantime, I am assured by Revenue that it remains very vigilant in relation to this and any other possible threats related to fuel fraud.

  While it is very disappointing that incidents of illegal dumping of mineral oil waste still occur, I am advised that the level of this dumping is greatly reduced. I am further advised by Revenue that having regard to its overall level of resources, it is satisfied that it has the necessary resources and powers to undertake the appropriate range of interventions to tackle smuggling and tax evasion activities by those engaged in fuel fraud. I remain open to discussing with Revenue future requirements they may have as regards resources or powers to maximise their effectiveness in tackling fuel fraud.

Carbon Tax Implementation

 60. Deputy Declan Breathnach Information on Declan Breathnach Zoom on Declan Breathnach asked the Minister for Finance Information on Paschal Donohoe Zoom on Paschal Donohoe if his attention has been drawn to the fact that an increase in carbon tax on solid fuel in the forthcoming budget will lead to an increase in illicit trade in solid fuels to the detriment of legal business owners south of the Border; if his attention has been drawn further to the fact that such an increase would also lead to increased use of illegal polluting solid fuels purchased on the black market; if he will keep prices in line with pricing north of the Border; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [40940/18]

Minister for Finance (Deputy Paschal Donohoe): Information on Paschal Donohoe Zoom on Paschal Donohoe As the Deputy will be aware, it is a longstanding practice of the Minister for Finance not to comment, in advance of the Budget, on any tax matters that might be the subject of Budget decisions.

In relation to the issue of the illicit trade in solid fuels, as I, and my predecessor, have pointed out before, the collection of solid fuel carbon tax is heavily reliant on the regulatory regime covering the marketing, sale, distribution and burning of solid fuels in the State. This regulatory regime is operated by the Department of Communications, Climate Action and Environment and is enforced by local authorities. This regime, which imposes higher environmental standards on coal in the State than applies in Northern Ireland, enables local authorities to undertake enforcement action to prevent the sale or distribution of coal that does not meet our standards.

European Union Single Market constraints preclude the use of any cross-border movement controls in the administration of Solid Fuel Carbon Tax. Therefore, Revenue has no authority to stop vehicles and physically inspect loads of such fuel. Similarly, the transport or possession of solid fuels that originated in Northern Ireland are not, in themselves, Revenue offences and Revenue’s officers have no authority to challenge such transportation or possession. It is important to note that liability to Solid Fuel Carbon Tax does not arise on the physical presence of the goods in the State, but on first supply in the State by the supplier who is obliged to register with Revenue, make a return and pay the tax. This return must be made one month after the two-month accounting period provided for in law.

I am advised that Revenue is in contact with the Department of Communications, Climate Action and Environment to discuss the effectiveness of the regulatory regime for solid fuel and to explore how to improve matters in light of continuing concerns that fuel sourced from Northern Ireland is getting onto the market here, including the scope for cooperation to ensure improved compliance in the sector.

Insurance Costs

 61. Deputy Brendan Smith Information on Brendan Smith Zoom on Brendan Smith asked the Minister for Finance Information on Paschal Donohoe Zoom on Paschal Donohoe if further and detailed consideration will be given to the ongoing concerns of an association (details supplied) regarding exorbitant insurance costs and the overall level of awards; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [41026/18]

Minister for Finance (Deputy Paschal Donohoe): Information on Paschal Donohoe Zoom on Paschal Donohoe I note the attached press release of the Alliance for Insurance Reform to which the Deputy refers. I also welcome the recent statement of the Chief Justice on the Opening of the New Legal Year and his reference to consistency and proper calibration of injury awards which was made in the context of recently published Personal Injuries Commission (PIC) Report. This Report has made a number of important recommendations which I believe will improve the personal injury resolution framework in Ireland. This area of work is of particular importance to tackling the broader cost of insurance issue. The implementation of these PIC recommendations – along with those from the first PIC Report - will I believe contribute to a better functioning personal injury litigation system, and it is hoped that they will ultimately contribute to making insurance more affordable for the whole of society.

The Alliance for Insurance Reform has played an active role in highlighting the issue of the cost of insurance, particularly for businesses and voluntary organisations. My colleague Minister D’Arcy has formally met with the Alliance on a number of occasions, most recently on September 18th, and issues related to the Alliance’s “10 asks” were discussed in some level of detail. At this meeting it was pointed out that many of these “10 asks” were considered by the Cost of Insurance Working Group in the course of producing its two reports, namely the Report on the Cost of Motor Insurance and the Report on the Cost of Employer and Public Liability Insurance. Indeed, a number of these measures are in the process of being implemented, such as amending section 8 of the Civil Liability and Courts Act 2004 and putting in place guidelines for the reporting of suspected personal injury fraud by insurers to the Gardaí. In respect of other issues put forward by the Alliance, such as changing the approach to calculating the Book of Quantum, the recommendations of the PIC that this country follows the example of judicial intervention which has occurred in Northern Ireland and in the UK, namely the introduction of Judicial Guidelines for judges, is an important recognition of the role of the Judiciary in this area. On the issue of a legislative capping of awards, as Minister D’Arcy has clearly indicated previously, there are constitutional issues which need to be first considered, thus explaining why the Working Group has referred that matter to the Law Reform Commission for examination.

Finally, I think it is important that the focus of the Cost of Insurance Working Group continues to be on implementing the recommendations of its two Reports. As I have stated previously, I believe that the cumulative effects of the implementation of all the recommendations should include increased stability in the pricing of insurance for consumers and businesses and improved availability of insurance generally..

Budget 2019

 62. Deputy Brendan Smith Information on Brendan Smith Zoom on Brendan Smith asked the Minister for Finance Information on Paschal Donohoe Zoom on Paschal Donohoe if consideration will be given to the issues raised in a pre-budget submission by an association (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [41181/18]

Minister for Finance (Deputy Paschal Donohoe): Information on Paschal Donohoe Zoom on Paschal Donohoe The Deputy will be aware that it is a longstanding practice of the Minister for Finance not to comment, in advance of the Budget, on any tax matters that might be the subject of Budget decisions.

Pension Levy Yield

 63. Deputy Jack Chambers Information on Jack Chambers Zoom on Jack Chambers asked the Minister for Finance Information on Paschal Donohoe Zoom on Paschal Donohoe the yield from the private pension levy in each of the years in which it was applied; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [41254/18]

Minister for Finance (Deputy Paschal Donohoe): Information on Paschal Donohoe Zoom on Paschal Donohoe I am informed by Revenue that the yield for all relevant years from the Stamp Duty levy on pension schemes is as set in the following table.

Year Yield

€m
2011 463
2012 483
2013 535
2014 743
2015 169
Total 2,393


  The levy has ceased since 2015.

Ministerial Communications

 64. Deputy Alan Kelly Information on Alan Kelly Zoom on Alan Kelly asked the Minister for Finance Information on Paschal Donohoe Zoom on Paschal Donohoe if there is a policy regarding ministerial use of private email for Government business in his Department; and if so, if it will be published. [41523/18]

Minister for Finance (Deputy Paschal Donohoe): Information on Paschal Donohoe Zoom on Paschal Donohoe The Department of Finance does not have a specific policy in relation to the use of private email for Government business.

ICT services to the Department of Finance are provided by the Office of the Government Chief Information Officer (OGCIO) under the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform. The Department has an Information and Communications Technology Acceptable Usage Policy in place that covers email usage. This policy addresses use of the Department ICT systems, including all communications, whether official or non-official. There is no access to non-departmental web based mail accounts from within the Department's network.

Official Engagements

 65. Deputy Alan Kelly Information on Alan Kelly Zoom on Alan Kelly asked the Minister for Finance Information on Paschal Donohoe Zoom on Paschal Donohoe if he and-or officials in his Department attended the 2018 Ryder Cup; if so, the reason they attended; the days on which they attended; the officials they met from a Ryder Cup organisation or the European Tour; and the costs for each individual's attendance. [41536/18]

Minister for Finance (Deputy Paschal Donohoe): Information on Paschal Donohoe Zoom on Paschal Donohoe I wish to inform the Deputy that neither I or any of the officials from my Department attended the 2018 Ryder Cup.

Decentralisation Programme Data

 66. Deputy Michael Moynihan Information on Michael Moynihan Zoom on Michael Moynihan asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform Information on Paschal Donohoe Zoom on Paschal Donohoe the number of civil and public service jobs that relocated to all 53 locations in 25 counties under the 2003 decentralisation programme by Department and location in each county, in tabular form; and his plans for a new programme.  [40668/18]

Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform (Deputy Paschal Donohoe): Information on Paschal Donohoe Zoom on Paschal Donohoe As the Deputy will be aware, the Decentralisation Programme announced in December 2003 involved the potential relocation of over 10,000 civil and public service jobs to 53 locations in 25 counties.

  It was decided by the Government in 2011 that the Decentralisation Programme should be cancelled in light of the budgetary and staffing outlook at that time. Up to that date, about a third of the target numbers, over 3,400 posts were decentralised. It is estimated that the proportion of civil servants working outside Dublin is now in the region of 50%.

   The accompanying table sets out the details requested by the Deputy in his question.

  I currently have no plans to introduce a further programme of decentralisation.

  Number of Staff relocated (2011) -   Decentralisation - Organisations and Staff Moved.

Location - - Department/Organisation Staff moved
Carlow 1 Carlow (advance party) Enterprise Trade & Innovation  103
Cavan 2 Cavan (advance party) Communications Energy & Natural Resources 57
  3 Kilrush Office of the Revenue Commissioners 57
Clare 4 Shannon¹ (advance party) Enterprise Ireland 66
      Agriculture Fisheries & Food 85
      BIM 20
  5 Clonakilty Sea Fisheries Protection Authority 47
Cork 6 Cork City  Health Information and Quality Authority 47
  7 Buncrana Social Protection  100
Donegal 8 Gaoth Dobhair  Foras na Gaeilge  5
  9 Clifden (advance party) Pobal 25
      Road Safety Authority 40
  10 Loughrea Transport - Road Haulage 10
      Community Equality  
Galway 11 Na Forbacha and Gaeltacht Affairs 12
  12 Killarney Tourism Culture & Sport  79
Kerry 13 Listowel Office of the Revenue Commissioners 52
  14 Athy (advance party) Office of the Revenue Commissioners 73
  15 Naas Irish Auditing & Accounting Supervisory Authority 12
      Defence 165
Kildare 16 Newbridge Defence Forces HQ  55
Kilkenny 17 Thomastown (advance party in Kilkenny) Health & Safety Authority 33
      Data Protection Commissioner 23
      Equality Tribunal 8
  18 Portarlington (advance party) NCCA 12
Laois 19 Portlaoise (advance party) Agriculture Fisheries & Food  317
Leitrim 20 Carrick-on-Shannon Social Protection  159
  21 Limerick Foreign Affairs - Development Co-operation Ireland 134
Limerick 22 Newcastlewest Office of the Revenue Commissioners 52
Longford 23 Longford Irish Prison Service 133
Louth 24 Dundalk² (advance party) Sustainable Energy Ireland 11
  25 Ballina Road Safety Authority 62
  26 Charlestown (advance party in Tubbercurry) Community Equality & Gaeltacht Affairs 100
Mayo 27 Claremorris (advance party) Office of Public Works 31
      Coroners Service 4
      Garda Civilian Human Resources Division 38
      National Property Services Regulatory Authority 9
      Office of the Director of Probation Service 15
  28 Navan Office of the Revenue Commissioners 100
Meath 29 Trim Office of Public Works 240
  30 Birr (advance party) FÁS 20
Offaly 31 Tullamore Finance 122
Roscommon 32 Roscommon Property Registration Authority - Land Registry 77
Sligo 33 Sligo Social Protection  72
      Private Security Authority 32
  34 Tipperary Town  Irish Naturalisation & Immigration Service (advance move) 63
      Garda HQ - Garda Central Vetting Office 67
  35 Thurles (advance party)  Garda HQ - Fixed Charge Processing Section 66
Tipperary 36 Roscrea (advance party) Equality Authority 16
  37 Athlone Education & Skills  88
Westmeath 38 Mullingar (advance party) Education & Skills  7
Wexford 39 Wexford (advance party) Environment Heritage & Local Government 189
      Total 3,410


¹   Includes 40 Shannon Development posts absorbed into Enterprise Ireland and additional posts located in Shannon under a parallel process.

²   SEI are in the process of relocating a further 13 posts to Dundalk.

Office of the Comptroller and Auditor General

 67. Deputy Michael Fitzmaurice Information on Michael Fitzmaurice Zoom on Michael Fitzmaurice asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform Information on Paschal Donohoe Zoom on Paschal Donohoe the estimated amount it would cost in 2019 if the budget for the Comptroller and Auditor General increased by 15%; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [40868/18]

Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform (Deputy Paschal Donohoe): Information on Paschal Donohoe Zoom on Paschal Donohoe The 2018 revised estimate gross figure for the Office of the Comptroller and Auditor General was €13.977m. Therefore, the estimated amount it would cost in 2019 if the budget for the Comptroller and Auditor General increased by 15% would be €2.097m.

Garda Station Refurbishment

 68. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan Information on Thomas P. Broughan Zoom on Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform Information on Paschal Donohoe Zoom on Paschal Donohoe the capital works the OPW has carried out in Howth Garda station in each of the years 2016, 2017 and to date in 2018; if the OPW has further capital works planned to be carried out at the station over the next 12 months; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [40879/18]

Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform (Deputy Paschal Donohoe): Information on Paschal Donohoe Zoom on Paschal Donohoe I can confirm that the Office of Public Works spent €105,190.73 on capital works carried out at Howth Garda Station in 2016 and 2017. The following table provides details of this expenditure.

  There has been no capital expenditure in 2018 and there are currently no plans for further capital works at Howth Garda Station in the next 12 months .

Year Description Cost
2016 Public office refurbishment €79,450.00
2017 Public office refurbishment (work continued) Lighting upgrade €21,613.87 €4,126.86
2018 No works to date  

National Botanic Gardens

 69. Deputy Seán Crowe Information on Seán Crowe Zoom on Seán Crowe asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform Information on Paschal Donohoe Zoom on Paschal Donohoe if the grounds of St. Enda's Park, Rathfarnham, Dublin 16 are in the care of the National Botanic Gardens; if changes have been made to the management of the care of the grounds; and if changes are planned.  [40888/18]

Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform (Deputy Paschal Donohoe): Information on Paschal Donohoe Zoom on Paschal Donohoe St. Enda's Park, Rathfarnham, Dublin 16 is managed as part of its National Historic Properties portfolio by the Office of Public Works. This portfolio of properties is preserved and presented by an expert team of heritage professionals including horticulture and botanical specialists. No changes have been made in regard to the standards or policies for the management and care for the grounds and no changes are planned for.

Garda Stations

 70. Deputy Niamh Smyth Information on Niamh Smyth Zoom on Niamh Smyth asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform Information on Paschal Donohoe Zoom on Paschal Donohoe the plans by the OPW to purchase property for Garda stations; the stages in negotiation for each one; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [40894/18]

Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform (Deputy Paschal Donohoe): Information on Paschal Donohoe Zoom on Paschal Donohoe Other than the finalisation of a small number of acquisitions currently being completed, the Office of Public Works has no plans to purchase property for Garda Stations.

State Properties

 71. Deputy Tony McLoughlin Information on Tony McLoughlin Zoom on Tony McLoughlin asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform Information on Paschal Donohoe Zoom on Paschal Donohoe further to Parliamentary Question No. 93 of 3 July 2018, if there has been progress made on this issue to date; if the information requested has been received by his Department from Sligo County Council; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [40896/18]

Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform (Deputy Paschal Donohoe): Information on Paschal Donohoe Zoom on Paschal Donohoe I refer the Deputy to my response to his previous question on 3rd July 2018. In the response, I stated that the CSSO had outlined to Sligo County Council the material that they needed to provide in support of an application for the waiver of the Minister's interest in the piece of land identified, in accordance with Section 31 of the State Property Act 1954.

I am informed that Sligo County Council have not yet provided the material required. I would, however, point out that these can be complex matters and often take a lengthy time to resolve.

Flood Risk Assessments

 72. Deputy Joan Burton Information on Joan Burton Zoom on Joan Burton asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform Information on Paschal Donohoe Zoom on Paschal Donohoe further to Parliamentary Question No. 192 of 11 July 2018, if there has been further progress in the evaluation of the flooding in the area; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [40916/18]

Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform (Deputy Paschal Donohoe): Information on Paschal Donohoe Zoom on Paschal Donohoe The Hazelhatch area of Celbridge, County Kildare was assessed as part of the Eastern CFRAM Study. The Plans identified the need for a further study of the area before being able to identify any feasible option to manage the existing flood risk.

A study, carried out by consultants on behalf of the local authority, highlighted the need for a re-assessment of the local hydrology for the area. The study also revealed the need to investigate the operation of the local drainage network.

The Office of Public Works (OPW) and Kildare County Council have completed the development of the required project brief. Commissioning this further study rests with the local authority to progress.


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