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 Header Item Written Answers Nos. 236-260
 Header Item Child Detention Centres
 Header Item Recreational Facilities Provision
 Header Item Parliamentary Questions Data
 Header Item CLÁR Programme
 Header Item Departmental Funding
 Header Item Departmental Budgets
 Header Item Parliamentary Questions Data
 Header Item Carer's Allowance Applications
 Header Item Jobseeker's Allowance Payments
 Header Item Pensions Reform
 Header Item Carer's Benefit Applications
 Header Item Commencement of Legislation
 Header Item Legislative Measures
 Header Item Invalidity Pension Payments
 Header Item Illness Benefit Payments
 Header Item Direct Provision Payments
 Header Item Social Welfare Overpayments
 Header Item Urban Renewal Schemes
 Header Item Local Authority Staff
 Header Item Parliamentary Questions Data
 Header Item Local Authority Housing Waiting Lists
 Header Item Water Pollution
 Header Item Social and Affordable Housing Provision
 Header Item Tenancy Protection Scheme

Wednesday, 12 December 2018

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 976 No. 5

First Page Previous Page Page of 84 Next Page Last Page

Written Answers Nos. 236-260

Child Detention Centres

 236. Deputy Clare Daly Information on Clare Daly Zoom on Clare Daly asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs Information on Katherine Zappone Zoom on Katherine Zappone further to Parliamentary Question No. 613 of 4 December 2018, the basis of her assertion that all members of the board of Tusla had an opportunity to read the operational review of the centre before the decision was taken in 2017 to not publish the report; and if she is satisfied that all members of the board did in fact read the report before that decision was taken. [52402/18]

Minister for Children and Youth Affairs (Deputy Katherine Zappone): Information on Katherine Zappone Zoom on Katherine Zappone Parliamentary Question No. 613 of 4 December 2018 asked "if all members of the Board of Oberstown Detention Centre had been given an opportunity to read the operational review of the centre before the decision was taken in 2017 to not publish the report." I responded that the Board of Oberstown  had the opportunity to read the report in question.

A previous question, number 536 of the 26th of November 2018, asked whether "all members of the board of Tusla had been given an opportunity to read the operational review of Oberstown before the decision was taken in 2017 to not publish the report." My response to this question was: "The report of operational review of the Oberstown Children Detention Campus was not shared with the Board of Tusla - the Child and Family Agency. Tusla has no operational responsibility in relation to Oberstown."

Therefore, the I did not assert that all members of the board of Tusla had an opportunity to read the report of an Operational Review of Oberstown Children Detention Campus. I am satisfied that the Board of Tusla has not read the report and that the Board of Oberstown has had the opportunity to read the report, in advance of their decision not to publish that report.

Recreational Facilities Provision

 237. Deputy Clare Daly Information on Clare Daly Zoom on Clare Daly asked the Minister for Rural and Community Development Information on Michael Ring Zoom on Michael Ring his plans to introduce funding schemes in the Fingal area to address the rapid expansion of population and lack of facilities to accommodate the large scale growth of the adolescent population in recent years in view of the fact that many are turning to anti-social behaviour due to lack of facilities. [52301/18]

 238. Deputy Clare Daly Information on Clare Daly Zoom on Clare Daly asked the Minister for Rural and Community Development Information on Michael Ring Zoom on Michael Ring his views on the growing issue of anti-social behaviour displayed in adolescents residing within newly established areas due to a lack of facilities offered to them especially in areas such as Lusk and Fingal. [52302/18]

Minister for Rural and Community Development (Deputy Michael Ring): Information on Michael Ring Zoom on Michael Ring I propose to take Questions Nos. 237 and 238 together.

  My Department provides supports to help identify the need for community facilities in specific areas, and provides some funding for these facilities.  It supports Local Community Development Committees (LCDCs) who are responsible for the delivery of the community elements of their Local Economic and Community Plans (LECPs).  These plans are adopted in each local authority area, including Fingal.

  Needs identified in the LECPs are funded from a range of sources including schemes and programmes provided by my Department.  For example, the Community Enhancement Programme (CEP) can contribute towards the renovation and development of community infrastructure.  In 2018, the Fingal Local Authority area received €477,189 under the CEP.  Small capital projects including CCTV installation for the monitoring of anti-social behaviour can be funded under the scheme.  My Department also provides capital funding under the LEADER programme, which can support the development of facilities outside of the five main cities, including some areas within Fingal.

  Separately, the Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government administers the Urban Regeneration and Development Fund (URDF), which was launched as part of Project Ireland 2040 to support the compact growth and sustainable development of Ireland’s five cities, regional drivers and other large urban centres.  The Fund has an allocation of €2 billion to 2027.

  While a community facilities project alone is unlikely to be eligible for this funding, the URDF invites a range of proposal types, which must be in line with the assigned assessment criteria, including, inter alia:

  - Whether the proposal forms part of an overall integrated vision for an area and is likely to be instrumental in the achievement of transformational, place-based change.

  - The extent to which proposal co-ordinates with and/or contributes to evidence-based strategies for social, economic and physical/environmental development, including in particular Regional Social and Economic Strategies and City/County Development Plans.

  - The need to leverage wider residential and/or commercial development.

A further call for proposals for 2020 funding will issue in 2019, with the aim to facilitate a greater focus on integrated urban projects, as such proposals require sufficient time for design, planning, procurement and construction to be advanced properly.  It will be open to Fingal County Council to submit suitable proposals for funding in respect of eligible parts of the Fingal area.  Further details can be found at

www.housing.gov.ie/urdf and www.gov.ie/urdf.

Parliamentary Questions Data

 239. Deputy Catherine Murphy Information on Catherine Murphy Zoom on Catherine Murphy asked the Minister for Rural and Community Development Information on Michael Ring Zoom on Michael Ring the number of parliamentary questions his Department has processed in the past three years to date; the number of questions answered directly; the number of questions referred to bodies or agencies under the aegis of his Department for direct reply; the number of staff who are assigned to his parliamentary questions section; and if non-departmental staff, advisers and-or public affairs and relations companies have composed parliamentary question replies or had an act or hand in forming parliamentary question replies in the timeframe specified. [52247/18]

Minister for Rural and Community Development (Deputy Michael Ring): Information on Michael Ring Zoom on Michael Ring My Department was established on 19 July 2017. There are currently three staff located in my Department's Secretary-General's office involved centrally in the processing of Parliamentary Questions (PQs). However, staff across all units of my Department are involved in inputting to PQ replies.

  In relation to bodies or agencies under the aegis of my Department, data and information is requested from those bodies or agencies, if appropriate, however, my Department provides the reply directly to the Oireachtas. Agencies or bodies have not been asked to reply directly to parliamentary questions.

  In general, non-Departmental staff or public affairs and relations companies have no role in relation to drafting PQ responses. Ministerial advisers have a role in proofing the final draft replies on my behalf.

  In 2017 my Department processed 311 PQs and 278 were answered directly.

  To date in 2018, 1,222 PQs have been processed and 877 have been answered directly.

CLÁR Programme

 240. Deputy Niamh Smyth Information on Niamh Smyth Zoom on Niamh Smyth asked the Minister for Rural and Community Development Information on Michael Ring Zoom on Michael Ring the areas in which he is expanding CLÁR funding in 2019, by category; when this funding will be open for applications in 2019; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [52318/18]

Minister for Rural and Community Development (Deputy Michael Ring): Information on Michael Ring Zoom on Michael Ring CLÁR was originally launched in October 2001 to provide for targeted investment in disadvantaged rural areas. The areas originally selected for inclusion in the programme were those which suffered the greatest population decline from 1926 to 1996.  The Cooley Peninsula was also included on the basis of the serious difficulties caused in that area by Foot and Mouth disease. The average population loss in the original CLÁR regions over the period 1926 to 1996 was 50%.

In 2006, an analysis of the 2002 Census data was carried out by the NIRSA Institute at Maynooth University and the programme was extended to include areas with an average population loss of 35% between 1926 and 2002.

The CLÁR programme was closed for new applications in 2010.  However, I re-launched the programme in the second half of 2016, using as a base-line the areas identified in the work carried out by NIRSA.  Over 1,200 projects have been approved for funding of €25 million under CLÁR since I re-launched the programme in 2016. 

I have initiated a review of the CLÁR programme which will examine CLÁR areas by reference to the 2016 Census of Population data.  It will also consider whether there are any other factors that should be taken into account in designating areas for eligibility under CLÁR.  The review will also help to inform future CLÁR programmes in 2019 and beyond. 

Decisions regarding specific areas and measures which might be supported under the CLÁR programme in 2019 will be made early next year. No decision has been made yet as to when the 2019 CLÁR scheme will open for applications.

Departmental Funding

 241. Deputy Dara Calleary Information on Dara Calleary Zoom on Dara Calleary asked the Minister for Rural and Community Development Information on Michael Ring Zoom on Michael Ring the current and capital funding allocated for each scheme and programme in 2016, 2017, 2018 and 2019 under his Department and bodies under the remit of his Department; and the amount expended in each such year to date in 2018 for each scheme, in tabular form. [52396/18]

Minister for Rural and Community Development (Deputy Michael Ring): Information on Michael Ring Zoom on Michael Ring The Department of Rural and Community Development was established in July 2017. The funding allocations made available to the Department are published each year in the Revised Estimates Volume. The Revised Estimates Volume 2018 is available here:

http://www.per.gov.ie/wp-content/uploads/REV-2018-compressed.pdf.

  The 2019 Revised Estimates Volume will be published shortly by the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform. The outturn for the Department is published in the Annual Appropriation Account. The 2017 Appropriation Account is available here:

https://www.audit.gov.ie/en/Find-Report/Publications/2018/vote-42.pdf.  

  Provisional capital and current expenditure figures for my Department at Vote level in respect of 2018 to date, along with the estimated expenditure for 2018 as detailed in the revised estimates, are set out below:

Provisional Capital Expenditure to date 2018 (€’000s) Estimate  Spend to date
V42 – GROSS SPEND  95,208 73,677
     
A - REGIONAL DEVELOPMENT & REGIONAL AFFAIRS  85,855 56,552
A.2 - ADMINISTRATION - NON  PAY 166 151
A.3 - DORMANT ACCOUNT  MEASURES 2,006 53
A.5 - NATIONAL RURAL DEVELOPMENT SCHEMES 18,083 11,809
A.6 - LEADER - RURAL ECONOMY SUB  PROGRAMME 40,000 22,266
A.8 - TOWN AND VILLAGE REGENERATION 15,000 11,439
A.9 - RURAL BROADBAND & REG  ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT 600 511
A.10. - LOCAL IMPROVEMENT  SCHEMES 10,000 10,323
     
B - COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT  9,353 17,125
B.2 - ADMINISTRATION - NON  PAY 136 107
B.6 - RAPID 3,767 3,767
B.8 - PROGRAMME FOR PEACE AND RECONCILIATION 700 0
B.10 - LIBRARY DEVELOPMENT AND  ARCHIVE SERVICE 2,750 2,736
B.11 - COMMUNITY FACILITIES  FUND 2,000 10,515


Provisional Current Expenditure to date 2018 (€'000's)  Estimate  Spend to date 
     
V42 - GROSS SPEND  144,024  135,421 
     
A - RURAL DEVELOPMENT & REGIONAL AFFAIRS  15,229 12,688
A.1 - ADMINISTRATION - PAY 4,644  4,205
A.2 - ADMINISTRATION - NON PAY 1,748  518 
A.3 - DORMANT ACCOUNT MEASURES 2,320  2,171 
A.4 - WESTERN DEVELOPMENT COMMISSION 1,516  1,436 
A.5 - NATIONAL RURAL DEVELOPMENT SCHEMES 3,600  3,023 
A.7 - TIDY TOWNS COMPETITION 115 
A.9 - RURAL BROADBAND &  REG.  ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT 1,400  1,219 
     
B - COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT  124,243 119,927
B.2 - ADMINISTRATION - PAY 3,618  3,229 
B.2 - ADMINISTRATION - NON PAY 1,351  398 
B.3 - SUPPORTS FOR COMMUNITY AND VOLUNTARY SECTOR 12,687  13,909 
B.4 - SICAP, LOCAL/REGIONAL DEVELOPMENT SUPPORTS 43,230  42,431 
B.5 - LOCAL COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT COMMITTEES 1,905  1,931 
B.6 - RAPID 2,233  1,911 
B.7 - DORMANT ACCOUNTS MEASURES 5,750  4,700 
B.8 - PROGRAMME FOR PEACE AND RECONCILATION 3,028  2,186
B.9 - IRISH WATER SAFETY 1,104  1,254
B.10 - LIBRARY DEVELOPMENT AND ARCHIVE SERVICE 1,102  1,017
B.12 - COMMUNITY SERVICES PROGRAMME 46,190  43,525
B.13 - SOCIAL INCLUSION UNITS 550  531
B.14 - PUBLIC PARTICIPATION NETWORKS 1,550  2,050
B.15 - OTHER SERVICES 35  54
     
C - CHARITIES REGULATORY AUTHORITY  4,552 3,606
C.1 - ADMINISTRATION - PAY 76  75
C.2 - ADMINISTRATION - NON PAY 30  9
C.3 - CHARITIES REGULATORY AUTHORITY    
C.3 - PAY 2,957  2,112
C.3 - NON PAY 1,489  1,410

Departmental Budgets

 242. Deputy Dara Calleary Information on Dara Calleary Zoom on Dara Calleary asked the Minister for Rural and Community Development Information on Michael Ring Zoom on Michael Ring if he has sought permission from the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform to carry over unspent capital to 2019; if so, the amount sought as a carryover; the reason this was necessary; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [52397/18]

Minister for Rural and Community Development (Deputy Michael Ring): Information on Michael Ring Zoom on Michael Ring I can confirm that permission has not been sought from the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform to carryover unspent capital to 2019 as a full spend for departmental capital programmes is anticipated this year.

Parliamentary Questions Data

 243. Deputy Catherine Murphy Information on Catherine Murphy Zoom on Catherine Murphy asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection Information on Regina Doherty Zoom on Regina Doherty the number of parliamentary questions his Department has processed in the past three years to date; the number of questions answered directly; the number of questions referred to bodies or agencies under the aegis of his Department for direct reply; the number of staff who are assigned to his parliamentary questions section; and if non-departmental staff, advisers and-or public affairs and relations companies have composed parliamentary question replies or had an act or hand in forming parliamentary question replies in the timeframe specified. [52240/18]

Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection (Deputy Regina Doherty): Information on Regina Doherty Zoom on Regina Doherty The information sought by the Deputy is contained in the following table:

Year Written PQs Oral/Priority PQs Total PQs
2016 2,975 61 3,036
2017 3,692 105 3,797
2018* 2,549 68 2,617


  * Till end September (latest data available)

  All questions were answered directly, with input from agencies under the Department's remit, as required. None were referred for direct answer by the agencies.

  There are approximately 600 staff members of varying grades involved at some level in distributing, answering and submitting PQs for approval across the Department.  Responses to all PQs are prepared by Department staff and approved at senior management level within the Department and then submitted to the Minister for approval.

Carer's Allowance Applications

 244. Deputy Eugene Murphy Information on Eugene Murphy Zoom on Eugene Murphy asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection Information on Regina Doherty Zoom on Regina Doherty the status of an application by a person (details supplied) for carer’s allowance; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [52280/18]

Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection (Deputy Regina Doherty): Information on Regina Doherty Zoom on Regina Doherty Carer's allowance (CA) is a means-tested social assistance payment made to a person who is habitually resident in the State and who is providing full-time care and attention to a child or an adult who has such a disability that as a result they require that level of care.

  An application for CA was received from the person concerned on 19 July 2018.

  A person can be considered to be providing full-time care and attention where they are engaged in employment, self-employment or on training courses outside the home for a maximum of 15 hours per week, provided that they can show to the satisfaction of a deciding officer that adequate care has been provided for the care recipient in their absence.

  The person's case was referred to a local social welfare inspector (SWI) on 10 December 2018 to assess the level of care being provided, assess the applicant's means and confirm that all the conditions for receipt of carer’s allowance are satisfied.

  Once the SWI has reported, a decision will be made and the person concerned will be notified directly of the outcome.

  I hope this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.

Jobseeker's Allowance Payments

 245. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan Information on Bernard Durkan Zoom on Bernard Durkan asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection Information on Regina Doherty Zoom on Regina Doherty the correct level of jobseeker's allowance payable in the case of a person (details supplied); the correct level of arrears due in the case; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [52282/18]

Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection (Deputy Regina Doherty): Information on Regina Doherty Zoom on Regina Doherty The Social Welfare Appeals Office has informed the Department that the appeal for this customer was successful.  Their Jobseekers Allowance Payment has thus bee awarded from the 08 June 2018 at a personal rate of €198.00 per week.  Arrears of €5282.00 for the period 08 June 2018 to 11 December 2018 have been awarded.

  I hope this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.

Pensions Reform

 246. Deputy Jan O'Sullivan Information on Jan O'Sullivan Zoom on Jan O'Sullivan asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection Information on Regina Doherty Zoom on Regina Doherty if she has addressed the issue of women whose children were born before 1994 who were excluded from the home carer's scheme and as a result qualify for a much reduced contributory pension in comparison to other women then took time out of the workforce to care for children; if not, her plans to address this issue in the future; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [52291/18]

Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection (Deputy Regina Doherty): Information on Regina Doherty Zoom on Regina Doherty A policy to introduce the Total Contributions Approach (TCA) to pensions calculation was adopted by Government in the National Pensions Framework in 2010, as was the decision to base the entitlements of all new pensioners on this approach from around 2020. 

In advance of this, on the 23rd January this year, the Government agreed to a proposal that will allow pensioners affected by the 2012 changes in rate bands to have their pension entitlement calculated by an interim “Total Contributions Approach” (TCA) which will include up to 20 years of new HomeCaring Periods.  This approach is expected to significantly benefit many people, particularly women, whose work history includes an extended period of time outside the paid workplace, while raising families or in a caring role. The TCA will ensure that the totality of a person’s social insurance contributions - as opposed to the timing of them - determines their final pension outcome.  The HomeCaring Periods can be claimed for any year in which they occurred - they are not limited to years since 1994.

People whose pensions were decided under the 2000-2012 ratebands were subject to a significantly more generous regime than those who qualified before or afterwards, as a Yearly Average of only 20 contributions per year (out of a maximum of 52) could attract a 98% pension.  The effect of those changes, as it impacted upon those new pensioners since 2012, will be familiar to anyone who followed the debate on this matter over the last 6 years.  If pre-2012 pensioners were also allowed avail of HomeCaring Credits, their arrangements, as a group, would continue to be significantly more generous than those of post-2012 pensioners.  There would also be a very significant cost which would be expected to be of the order of several hundred millions of euros each year.  This in turn could significantly impact funds for future pension increases with consequential implications for pensioner poverty. 

For those with insufficient contributions to meet the requirements for a State pension (contributory), they may qualify for a means tested State pension (non-contributory), the maximum personal rate for which is €232 (over 95% of the maximum rate of the contributory pension).  This rate of payment does not include rent allowance, household benefits or fuel allowance.  Alternatively, if their spouse is a State pensioner and they have significant household means, their most beneficial payment may be an Increase for a Qualified Adult, based on their personal means, and amounting up to 90% of a full contributory pension.

I hope this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.

Carer's Benefit Applications

 247. Deputy Charlie McConalogue Information on Charlie McConalogue Zoom on Charlie McConalogue asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection Information on Regina Doherty Zoom on Regina Doherty when a decision will issue on a carer's benefit application by a person (details supplied) in County Donegal; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [52315/18]

Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection (Deputy Regina Doherty): Information on Regina Doherty Zoom on Regina Doherty Carer's Benefit (CARB) is a PRSI based payment made to a person who leaves the workforce to care for a child or an adult in need of full-time care and attention. An increased payment can be made where full-time care is being provided to two people.

  An application for CARB was received from the person concerned on 10 July 2018.  The person in respect of whom the claim was made, died on 20 August 2018. 

  The application was awarded to the person concerned on 10 December 2018 with effect from 26 July 2018 to 3 October 2018.

  Arrears of benefit due, including the 6 weeks after death entitlement for the period 26 July 2018 to 3 October 2018, will issue to her bank account on 14 December 2018.

  The person concerned was notified on 10 December 2018 of this decision, the reason for it and of her right of review and appeal.

  I hope this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.

Commencement of Legislation

 248. Deputy Peter Burke Information on Peter Burke Zoom on Peter Burke asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection Information on Regina Doherty Zoom on Regina Doherty when staff training will be completed following the commencement of section 13 of the Civil Registration (Amendment) Act 2014; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [52317/18]

Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection (Deputy Regina Doherty): Information on Regina Doherty Zoom on Regina Doherty Deputy Burke is right to point out that implementation of section 13 of the Civil Registration (Amendment) Act 2014 is dependent on provision of training to Civil Registration Service staff in the HSE, who have yet to make themselves available for training, despite the fact that this legislation was enacted over four years ago. It is one of a number of amendments to civil registration legislation whose commencement has been delayed for a considerable time because of this.

Management in the HSE are engaging in an industrial relations process to address any issues concerning the operation of the Civil Registration Service. When these issues have been resolved it is expected that registrars will become available for training as a matter of priority.

Officials from my Department, and the Department of Health are in contact at senior level to progress this matter and to offer any assistance necessary to bring about early delivery of training.

The General Register Office is in a position to provide this training as soon as the HSE notifies it of the available dates and venues. Work has been ongoing to progress this matter and as a result an advance party attended a session over the summer. It is not possible, at present, to indicate a date for the full delivery of training but I can assure you that I want to see this happen quickly.

Legislative Measures

 249. Deputy Catherine Martin Information on Catherine Martin Zoom on Catherine Martin asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection Information on Regina Doherty Zoom on Regina Doherty if she has considered options to speed up the resolution of technical errors in the Children and Family Relationships Act 2015; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [52321/18]

Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection (Deputy Regina Doherty): Information on Regina Doherty Zoom on Regina Doherty I am aware of the pressing need to make technical amendments to the Children and Family Relationships Act 2015, and of the impact that this issue is having on affected families, particularly same-sex female couples wishing to have the second partner entered in the register of births as the parent of their child.

My intention is to make these necessary amendments at the earliest possible opportunity. It is my intention to have these taken as Committee Stage amendments to the Social Welfare, Pensions and Civil Registration Bill 2017 .

In order to progress this matter, officials from my own Department are working with the General Register Office and the Department of Health to ensure that the appropriate legislative, regulatory, and operational mechanisms are in place to allow for the earliest possible commencement of all of the relevant legislation that will allow for birth registrations of donor-conceived children.

Invalidity Pension Payments

 250. Deputy Charlie McConalogue Information on Charlie McConalogue Zoom on Charlie McConalogue asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection Information on Regina Doherty Zoom on Regina Doherty when a decision will issue on an invalidity pension for a person (details supplied) in County Donegal; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [52322/18]

Minister of State at the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection (Deputy Finian McGrath): Information on Finian McGrath Zoom on Finian McGrath The gentleman referred to has been awarded invalidity pension with effect from 11 October 2018.  Payment, including arrears due from 11 October 2018 to 12 December 2018 will issue to his nominated bank account on the 13 December 2018.  The gentleman in question was notified of the decision on 05 December 2018.

  I hope this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.

Illness Benefit Payments

 251. Deputy Michael Healy-Rae Information on Michael Healy-Rae Zoom on Michael Healy-Rae asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection Information on Regina Doherty Zoom on Regina Doherty the status of an illness benefit payment for a person (details supplied); and if she will make a statement on the matter. [52323/18]

Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection (Deputy Regina Doherty): Information on Regina Doherty Zoom on Regina Doherty My Department administers the Illness Benefit scheme to those customers who cannot work because they are sick or ill., provided they are covered by the appropriate class of social insurance (PRSI) and satisfy the PRSI conditions.

  Illness Benefit rates are graduated according to your average weekly earnings in the relevant tax year. Average weekly earnings are calculated by dividing the total reckonable gross earnings (without deductions) in the relevant tax year by the actual number of weeks worked in that year.

  The relevant tax year for Illness Benefit claims made in 2018 is 2016 and, as the person concerned has average weekly earnings of €297.87 in 2016, if an Illness Benefit claim is made in 2018, she will qualify for a payment of €155.10.

  Any improvements or additions to the Department's schemes can only be considered in a budgetary context and in the light of available resources. 

  It is open to the person concerned to apply for Invalidity Pension  if she is permanently incapable of work . In addition if the person concerned has an urgent financial need she can apply for assistance to the Department's Community Welfare Service  at her local Intreo office.

  I trust this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.

Direct Provision Payments

 252. Deputy Richard Boyd Barrett Information on Richard Boyd Barrett Zoom on Richard Boyd Barrett asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection Information on Regina Doherty Zoom on Regina Doherty if a person who lives in a direct provision centre is entitled to a weekly payment for transport if attending a full-time or part-time course; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [52330/18]

Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection (Deputy Regina Doherty): Information on Regina Doherty Zoom on Regina Doherty The Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection administers the daily expenses allowance which is paid to applicants for international protection who live in the direct provision system where they are provided with full board, accommodation and other services by the Reception and Integration Agency of the Department of Justice and Equality. 

In addition, applicants for international protection can access exceptional needs payments (ENPs) and the back to school clothing and footwear allowance (BSCFA) as these are not subject to the habitual residence condition.  There is no entitlement to other weekly social welfare payments which are subject to this condition.

Under the supplementary welfare allowance (SWA) scheme, the Department may make a single exceptional needs payment (ENP) to help meet essential, once-off, exceptional expenditure which a person could not reasonably be expected to meet out of their weekly income.  There is no automatic entitlement to a payment under this scheme.  Payments are made at the discretion of the officers administering the scheme taking into account the requirements of the legislation and all the relevant circumstances of the case in order to ensure that the payments target those most in need of assistance.  

The Department of Education and Skills are operating a support scheme for students who are in the protection system or at the leave to remain (but not deportation order) stage and who are pursuing an approved post leaving certificate course or an approved undergraduate course for the academic year 2018/19.  A maintenance grant is provided under this scheme, and would be expected to cover costs such as travel to college/university.  Full details of the scheme are available on that Department of Education and Skill's website and any queries in relation to that scheme would be a matter for my colleague the Minister for Education and Skills.

I trust this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.

Social Welfare Overpayments

 253. Deputy Michael Healy-Rae Information on Michael Healy-Rae Zoom on Michael Healy-Rae asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection Information on Regina Doherty Zoom on Regina Doherty if a matter will be addressed regarding illness benefit in the case of a person (details supplied); and if she will make a statement on the matter. [52473/18]

Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection (Deputy Regina Doherty): Information on Regina Doherty Zoom on Regina Doherty The person concerned was paid Illness benefit up to the 10th October. The employer of the person concerned confirmed that the person returned to work on the 24th July 2018 and the person's Illness Benefit claim was subsequently closed with effect from the same date and an overpayment was raised for the period 24th July 2018 to the 10th October 2018.

  According to standard practice in such cases an Overpayment Letter was issued to the person concerned to inform him of the situation.

  On foot of the Deputy's representations I have arranged to have this matter re-examined and the person concerned will be informed directly of the outcome of this review as soon as possible.

  I trust this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.

Urban Renewal Schemes

 254. Deputy Catherine Murphy Information on Catherine Murphy Zoom on Catherine Murphy asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government Information on Eoghan Murphy Zoom on Eoghan Murphy the status of a funding application in respect of a project (details supplied); the appeals process available for unsuccessful applicants; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [52286/18]

Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government (Deputy Eoghan Murphy): Information on Eoghan Murphy Zoom on Eoghan Murphy The Urban Regeneration and Development Fund (URDF) was launched as part of Project Ireland 2040, to support the compact growth and sustainable development of Ireland’s five cities, regional drivers and other large urban centres.  I initiated the first call for proposals under the Fund in July 2018 and the deadline for submission of applications was 28 September.  A total of 189 applications were submitted to my Department and on 26 November I announced the successful applicants for funding, details of which are available on my Department's website at the following link:

https://www.housing.gov.ie/sites/default/files/publications/files/urdf_-_2019_funding_allocations_0.pdf. 

  There were two categories of submission; Category A for projects that were 'ready to go' and Category B to support the initial development of projects (Master-planning/Feasibility) to ensure a pipeline of projects into the future as the URDF is a rolling fund, with €2 billion available to 2027. The fund in the initial call was oversubscribed in both categories (A & B).

  The URDF grant in respect of the successful proposal in question, as with all other successful bid proposals, has been approved in principle subject to agreement of subsequent technical details with my Department and may be regarded as an initial investment of support for the project.  Given that this proposal has been allocated Category B funding, my Department intends to further engage with the applicant in order to discuss the progression of the proposal in 2019 and to agree on the terms of the funding allocation. As the process involved in finalising agreements with successful applicants is currently ongoing, project conditions will only be concluded after this process, which in part involves commercially sensitive information or proposals subject to a formal consent process at a later point.

  The appraisal process for proposals received under the URDF includes an appeal mechanism for unsuccessful applicants, within a specified time period.  Once notified of their markings, any unsuccessful applicant may avail of that appeal process.  It is envisaged that all markings will issue shortly.

Local Authority Staff

 255. Deputy Niamh Smyth Information on Niamh Smyth Zoom on Niamh Smyth asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government Information on Eoghan Murphy Zoom on Eoghan Murphy if he will review a case (details supplied); the number of waste enforcement officers in Monaghan and Cavan County Councils; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [52331/18]

Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government (Deputy Eoghan Murphy): Information on Eoghan Murphy Zoom on Eoghan Murphy Under section 159 of the Local Government Act 2001, each Chief Executive is responsible for staffing and organisational arrangements necessary for carrying out the functions of the local authority for which he or she is responsible.

  My Department has not received staffing sanction requests for additional enforcement officer positions from Cavan County Council or Monaghan County Council.

Parliamentary Questions Data

 256. Deputy Catherine Murphy Information on Catherine Murphy Zoom on Catherine Murphy asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government Information on Eoghan Murphy Zoom on Eoghan Murphy the number of parliamentary questions his Department has processed in the past three years to date; the number of questions answered directly; the number of questions referred to bodies or agencies under the aegis of his Department for direct reply; the number of staff who are assigned to his parliamentary questions section; and if non-departmental staff, advisers and-or public affairs and relations companies have composed parliamentary question replies or had an act or hand in forming parliamentary question replies in the timeframe specified. [52244/18]

Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government (Deputy Eoghan Murphy): Information on Eoghan Murphy Zoom on Eoghan Murphy The processing of individual Parliamentary Questions is undertaken as part of the normal day to day work of individual Sections within my Department and no staff in my Department are assigned full time to deal with Parliamentary Questions.

  The number and level of staff, and the time spent on individual replies, depends on the complexity and urgency of the issues raised, the ease of access to the required information, and the degree of cross-Divisional coordination required in preparing the reply.  

  Each Question may have input from staff within Sections, the Principal Officers and equivalents leading those sections, the relevant Assistant Secretary, the Secretary General and his office staff and the Minister and Ministers of State and staff in their offices. While information may have to be sought from external parties for the purposes of preparing replies, the preparation of all replies is managed by staff of the Department.

  A breakdown of the numbers of Oral and Written Questions for 2016 and 2017 is available on page 57 of  my Department's  2017 annual report, which can be accessed at the following link -  

  https://www.housing.gov.ie/search/archived/current/category/corporate/topic/0/topic/annual-report.

  Information in regard to Questions processed to end November 2018 is set out below;

Parliamentary Questions to end November 2018   
Questions Received 3,438
Questions Answered*  3,157
Question Type  
Oral 401
Written 2,756


   * The remainder of questions were disallowed, withdrawn or transferred. 

  Questions are not referred to agencies under the aegis of my Department for direct reply as information in relation to such bodies is a matter for the individual bodies concerned.  However, arrangements have been put in place by each agency to facilitate the provision of information directly to members of the Oireachtas.  The contact email addresses for each agency, as set out below, are provided in response to Parliamentary Questions, where appropriate.

Agency Email address
An Bord Pleanála Oireachtasqueries@pleanala.ie
Ervia, Gas Networks Ireland oireachtas@ervia.ie
Housing Sustainable Communities Agency publicreps@housingagency.ie
Housing Finance Agency oireachtas.enquiries@hfa.ie
Irish Water oireachtasmembers@water.ie
Local Government Management Agency corporate@lgma.ie
Ordnance Survey Ireland Oireachtas@osi.ie
Property Registration Authority reps@prai.ie
Pyrite Resolution Board oireachtasinfo@pyriteboard.ie
Residential Tenancies Board OireachtasMembersQueries@rtb.ie
Valuation Office oireachtas.enquiries@VALOFF.ie

Local Authority Housing Waiting Lists

 257. Deputy Niamh Smyth Information on Niamh Smyth Zoom on Niamh Smyth asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government Information on Eoghan Murphy Zoom on Eoghan Murphy the number of persons on the council housing waiting list for Ballyjamesduff, County Cavan; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [52269/18]

Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government (Deputy Eoghan Murphy): Information on Eoghan Murphy Zoom on Eoghan Murphy Details on the number of households qualified for social housing support in each local authority area are provided in the statutory Summary of Social Housing Assessments (SSHA).  The most recently published SSHA, carried out this year, details the number of households on all local authority waiting lists as at 11 June 2018.

  The results of the SSHA are available on my Department’s website and include breakdowns by each local authority across a range of categories, including household composition. The results do not provide a breakdown of the numbers by electoral area and my Department does not hold such data. The 2018 report also includes the results of the 2017 summary for comparative purposes.

  Full details in relation to the 2018 assessment are available on my Department's website at the following link:

  https://www.housing.gov.ie/sites/default/files/publications/files/summary_of_social_housing_assessments_2018_-_key_findings.pdf.

Water Pollution

 258. Deputy Brendan Griffin Information on Brendan Griffin Zoom on Brendan Griffin asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government Information on Eoghan Murphy Zoom on Eoghan Murphy his views on a matter (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [52277/18]

Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government (Deputy Eoghan Murphy): Information on Eoghan Murphy Zoom on Eoghan Murphy I have no direct statutory responsibility for the investigation of specific water pollution issues as this area is a matter for the relevant local authority pursuant to the Local Government (Water Pollution) Act 1977, as amended.  The Environmental Protection Agency, pursuant to the Environmental Protection Agency Act 1992, as amended, is responsible for the supervision generally of local authorities in this respect.

However, in relation to the specific matter raised, I understand that the relevant local authority has, at the request of the National Pesticides and Drinking Water Action Group (NPDWAG), established a local inter-agency action group, comprising the main stakeholders, to consider and agree a collaborative and consistent set of actions and communications regarding pesticides within the wider river catchment. The local authority is available to provide further information on this initiative.

Social and Affordable Housing Provision

 259. Deputy Brendan Ryan Information on Brendan Ryan Zoom on Brendan Ryan asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government Information on Eoghan Murphy Zoom on Eoghan Murphy if consideration is being given to making low-cost sites available to persons in a position to afford to build their own homes in view of the ongoing housing crisis; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [52305/18]

Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government (Deputy Eoghan Murphy): Information on Eoghan Murphy Zoom on Eoghan Murphy Local authorities already have powers to make low-cost sites available to individuals, who are qualified for social housing support, and collectively, to voluntary or co-operative not-for-profit housing associations.

  The Government continues to address affordability specifically.  In particular, for those households earning low to moderate annual gross incomes (up to €50,000 for single applicants and €75,000 for dual applicants), a multi-stranded approach is being taken to the targeted delivery of affordable housing.

  In order to support the affordable housing programmes of local authorities, the Government has committed €310 million, over the three years 2019 to 2021, under the Serviced Sites Fund (SSF) announced as part of Budget 2019. The funding is available for key facilitating infrastructure, on public lands, to support the provision of affordable homes to purchase or rent. I envisage a maximum amount of SSF funding of €50,000 per affordable home and on this basis at least 6,200 affordable homes could be facilitated.

  In this regard, I have issued approval in principle for ten infrastructure projects across five local authority areas, in Dublin and Cork, under the first SSF call for proposals. This first tranche of funding of €43 million will enable the delivery of 1,400 affordable homes on local authority lands. I expect infrastructure works on these projects to begin as soon as possible and delivery of affordable homes from early 2020 onwards. Details of these projects are set out in the following table.

  List of projects that have received approval in principle under the SSF first call for proposals

Local Authority Project/

Location
Total Provisional Cost of Proposal

Provisional Exchequer Grant Amount

Provisional Local Authority Contribution

Affordable

Housing Potential

Cork County Glanmire €1,500,000 €1,335,000 €165,000 20
Cork City Boherboy Road €4,968,366 €4,421,846 €546,520 103
Cork City Kilmore Road, Churchfield €1,410,551 €1,255,390 €155,160 21
Dublin City Cherry Orchard €7,645,415 €6,804,419 €840,996 183
Dublin City Balbutcher, Ballymun €4,135,351 €3,680,462 €454,889 74
Dublin City Sillogue, Ballymun €3,975,000 €3,537,750 €437,250 83
DLR Enniskerry Road €4,537,576 €4,038,443 €499,133 50
Fingal Church Fields, Mulhuddart €11,000,000 €9,790,000 €1,210,000 753
Fingal Dun Emer, Lusk €1,500,000 €1,335,000 €165,000 74
Fingal Hackettstown, Skerries €2,198,667 €1,956,814 €241,853 49
Total   €42,870,926 €38,155,124 €4,715,801 1410


  More broadly, all local authorities are carrying out economic assessments of the requirement for affordable housing in their areas and the viability to deliver such affordable housing from their sites. My Department hosted a workshop for local authorities last month to discuss these issues. A second call for proposals under the Fund will be made shortly. The scope of that call will be influenced by the information received from local authorities, as part of the aforementioned assessments, which are currently being collated by my Department.

  In terms of the type of affordable housing that will be delivered on local authority sites it may be affordable housing for purchase, for example, under the recently commenced provisions of Part 5 of the Housing (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 2009, or cost rental, which is being advanced on a number of pilot sites before being rolled out further. The Regulations to support the operation of Part 5 will be finalised shortly. These initiatives complement other Government actions which help first-time buyers to buy a home, such as the Help to Buy Scheme and the Rebuilding Ireland Home Loan.

Tenancy Protection Scheme

 260. 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 if a housing provider is required to issue notices to quit in cases in which homeless persons or persons who have been homeless have licence agreements in emergency, transitional or own door accommodation that due to the length of time of the license risk accruing tenancy rights, placing the persons at risk of further homelessness; and if so, if changes to regulations or legislative amendments made in the forthcoming residential tenancies (amendment) Bill to ensure that no resident in emergency, transitional and own door accommodation will not be issued with a notice to quit in cases in which they are unable to find permanent accommodation. [52309/18]

Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government (Deputy Eoghan Murphy): Information on Eoghan Murphy Zoom on Eoghan Murphy Section 25 of the Residential Tenancies Acts 2004-2016 disapplies its security of tenure rights under Part 4 from Approved Housing Body (AHB) tenancies of up to 18 months in duration relating to designated “transitional dwellings”. Where a lease extends beyond 18 months, then the property in question is no longer considered to be a “transitional dwelling” for the purposes of the Act and the tenant will obtain Part 4 rights.

AHBs work closely with tenants to identify suitable dwellings for occupation under a subsequent tenancy to commence before or upon the expiry of the initial 18 month tenancy in a transitional dwelling. Local authorities are available to assist AHBs in this regard with the aim of preventing homelessness.

Part 5 of the Acts provide for the termination of tenancies only, with sections 62 and 66 setting out the requirements for a valid tenancy termination notice by a landlord and the notice periods applicable.  

Accommodation let under licensing agreements does not fall within the remit of the Residential Tenancies Acts 2004-2016 which protect tenancy agreements only.  If there is any doubt as to the type of agreement in place in respect of individual dwellings, for example whether a licence agreement or a tenancy agreement exists, the matter should be referred to the Residential Tenancies Board (RTB) for a determination.  Where the RTB determines that a tenancy exists, it can deal with any dispute arising.

A licence agreement does not become a tenancy agreement with the passage of time; such agreements are separate in nature.


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