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 Header Item Written Answers Nos. 261-272
 Header Item Climate Change Adaptation Plans
 Header Item Solar Energy Guidelines
 Header Item Fire Service Staff
 Header Item Referendum Campaigns
 Header Item Housing Data
 Header Item Residential Tenancies Board Administration
 Header Item Parliamentary Questions Data
 Header Item Departmental Budgets
 Header Item Departmental Budgets
 Header Item Departmental Budgets
 Header Item National Development Plan Expenditure

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. 261-272

Climate Change Adaptation Plans

 261. 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 planned industrial terminal on the Shannon Estuary; the way in which this planning fits with the Fossil Fuel Divestment Act 2018 recently passed by both Houses of the Oireachtas; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [52311/18]

Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government (Deputy Eoghan Murphy): Information on Eoghan Murphy Zoom on Eoghan Murphy Under section 30 of the Planning and Development Act 2000, as amended, I am, as Minister, specifically precluded from exercising any power or control in relation to any particular case with which a planning authority or the Board is or may be concerned, except in very specific circumstances, which do not arise in this case. In addition, it would be inappropriate for me to make any comment on the proposed liquefied natural gas terminal development referred to as it is presently the subject of High Court proceedings. 

The Fossil Fuel Divestment Bill 2016, which has recently been passed by the Oireachtas, falls within the remit of my colleague, the Minister for Finance.

Solar Energy Guidelines

 262. Deputy John Curran Information on John Curran Zoom on John Curran asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government Information on Eoghan Murphy Zoom on Eoghan Murphy his plans to introduce guidelines for solar farms; the process involved and associated timeframe for same; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [52328/18]

Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government (Deputy Eoghan Murphy): Information on Eoghan Murphy Zoom on Eoghan Murphy As is the case with the large majority of development types, there are currently no specific planning guidelines in place in respect of solar farms. Proposals for individual solar farm developments are subject to the statutory requirements of the Planning and Development Act 2000, as amended, in the same manner as other proposed developments, with planning applications made to the relevant local planning authority and with a right of appeal to An Bord Pleanála. Within the wider national and local planning context, planning authorities must make their decisions, based on the specific merits or otherwise of individual planning applications.

While I am satisfied that the planning code is sufficiently robust to facilitate the assessment of individual planning permission applications for solar farm developments, the matter is being kept under review, in consultation with the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and the Environment, who leads on renewable energy policy. Our two Departments are presently exploring the potential for enhancing national planning guidance on solar energy, taking account of solar energy projects being assessed by planning authorities and the scope for future development of the sector in the context of the ongoing development of renewable energy policy.

On foot of this on-going engagement between the two Departments, where the need for specific planning guidance for solar farms is identified, my Department will develop such guidance as appropriate.

Fire Service Staff

 263. 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 he will consider introducing annual medal presentations for bravery as takes place for members of An Garda Síochána for members of the fire service both full-time and retained firefighters; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [52333/18]

Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government (Deputy Eoghan Murphy): Information on Eoghan Murphy Zoom on Eoghan Murphy Persons from all walks of life and all sections of society, including staff of local authority fire services, are eligible to be nominated for an award under the National Bravery Awards. Under this scheme, Deeds of Bravery Awards are given to people who have saved a human life involving personal risk to themselves.

  Comhairle na Míre Gaile - the Council for the recognition of Deeds of Bravery – is under the remit of the Minister for Justice and Equality, and it meets on an annual basis to consider and decide on the awards to be made.  The scheme has been in operation since 1947 and awards are presented in four categories – gold, silver, bronze and a certificate of recognition.  Further information relating to the Bravery Awards may be found at: www.bravery.ie

  I wish to take this opportunity to again place on the record my appreciation of the vital contribution made to our society by the men and women of the local authority fire services. Fire services are trained to operate as teams, to evaluate each emergency situation and to undertake appropriate risk assessments to ensure the safety of the public they serve as well as their colleagues and themselves. Given the focus on teamwork and risk assessment, I have no plans to introduce a separate bravery awards scheme for individual members of local authority fire services staff.

  In 1992, a scheme of long service awards for personnel in the local authority fire services was launched.  There are four categories of awards, marking service of ten years, twenty years, thirty years and forty years.  The ten-year award is a certificate presented locally, while the twenty, thirty and forty year awards all involve the presentation of medals and certificates at a national ceremony. The twenty-year award is a medal bearing the traditional logo representation of the fire service - a helmet and crossed axes.  The thirty-year award is a flame emblem.  The forty-year award is a bar; both the emblem and bar attach onto the medal ribbon.  

  The first national awards presentation was organised in 1998 and is now held every two years at a national presentation ceremony. The latest of these ceremonies was held in November 2018 at which 288 fire service personnel were eligible for awards.

Referendum Campaigns

 264. Deputy Micheál Martin Information on Micheál Martin Zoom on Micheál Martin asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government Information on Eoghan Murphy Zoom on Eoghan Murphy if he will report on the involvement of his Department on plans for the forthcoming referendum on plebiscites in May 2019. [51797/18]

Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government (Deputy Eoghan Murphy): Information on Eoghan Murphy Zoom on Eoghan Murphy At its meeting of 27 September, 2018, the Government agreed in principle that plebiscites would be held in Cork City Council, Limerick City and County Council, Waterford City and County Council, Galway City Council and Galway County Council on directly elected mayors with executive functions at the same time as the local government elections in May 2019.  This decision was subject to the necessary provisions for the holding of the plebiscites being included in the Local Government Bill 2018 and the requirement that I would revert to Government with more detailed proposals on the plebiscites, the questions to be put and the specific powers to be given to mayors.

On 26 November, 2018, the Government approved Committee Stage Amendments providing for the holding of plebiscites as part of the Local Government Bill 2018.  The Committee Stage process concluded on 6 December and the Bill proceeds this week to Report Stage.

My Department is also working to produce the more detailed policy proposals required. These proposals, including an analysis of the costs involved, are at an advanced stage of preparation and will be submitted shortly to Government.

Housing Data

 265. Deputy Eamon Ryan Information on Eamon Ryan Zoom on Eamon Ryan asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government Information on Eoghan Murphy Zoom on Eoghan Murphy the number of permissions granted for apartments and houses, respectively in each of the four local authorities in Dublin during the period of Q1 2016 to Q2 2018; the number of houses and apartments, respectively which have been completed during the period of Q1 2016 to Q2 2018 according to the CSO by year, local authority, number of apartments per year, number of houses per year, number of permissions granted and number of CSO completions in tabular form; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [52444/18]

 266. Deputy Eamon Ryan Information on Eamon Ryan Zoom on Eamon Ryan asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government Information on Eoghan Murphy Zoom on Eoghan Murphy the number of houses and apartments, respectively sold in each of the four local authorities in Dublin during the period of Q1 2016 to Q2 2018 by year, local authority, number of apartments sold per year and number of houses sold per year in tabular form; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [52445/18]

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 and 266 together.

  The Central Statistics Office (CSO), as the national statistical office, compiles and makes available detailed data on a number of housing related issues including housing completions, permissions granted and sales, which in turn inform government policy.  

  As regards housing supply generally, more new homes will be provided this year than in any year in the past decade: most recent data show the continuation of some very positive trends: planning permissions are up 39%, with 27,000 new homes granted planning permission in the year to end Q2 2018, while commencements are up 18% per annum and have more than doubled since the end of 2015, to almost 20,500 in the year to September. In terms of housing completions, the latest CSO data indicates that there were 4,673 new dwelling completions in Q3 2018, compared with 3,786 completions in the same period last year, an increase of 23.4%. This brings the total number of new dwellings completed in the first 9 months of 2018 to 12,582, an increase of 27.7% on the comparable period in 2017, when 9,856 dwellings were completed.

  In terms of planning permissions granted, the most recent CSO data available is for Q2 2018 and is accessible at the following link:

https://www.cso.ie/px/pxeirestat/Database/eirestat/Planning%20Permissions/Planning%20Permissions_statbank.asp?sp=Planning%20Permissions&Planguage=0.

  Data on new dwelling completions can also be found on the CSO website at the following link:

https://www.cso.ie/en/releasesandpublications/er/ndc/newdwellingcompletionsq32018/.

  The latest Residential Property Price Index from the CSO was published on 11 December 2018. While the CSO does not provide details of all residential property transactions at local authority level, it does so on a county level. Further details can be found at the following link:

https://www.cso.ie/px/pxeirestat/Database/eirestat/House%20Prices/House%20Prices_statbank.asp?SP=House%20Prices&Planguage=0.  

  Furthermore, as committed to under Rebuilding Ireland, my Department has developed a monthly housing activity report, which provides monthly updates on a range of statistics.  This report is published on the Rebuilding Ireland website at http://rebuildingireland.ie/news-page/.

Residential Tenancies Board Administration

 267. 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 when he expects the proposed register of landlords to be initiated and available for public inspection; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [52479/18]

Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government (Deputy Eoghan Murphy): Information on Eoghan Murphy Zoom on Eoghan Murphy The Residential Tenancies Acts 2004-2016 set out the rights and obligations of landlords and tenants in both the private rental sector and the Approved Housing Bodies (AHB) sector. The Acts provide that landlords in the sector must apply to register a tenancy of a dwelling with the Residential Tenancies Board (RTB) within one month of the commencement of the tenancy.

  The RTB actively pursues landlords for non-registration. Failure of a landlord to register a tenancy with the RTB can result in criminal conviction.  If convicted, a landlord may be liable to fines of up to €4,000 and/or six months' imprisonment, along with a daily fine of €500 for a continuing offence.  In addition, if the tenancy is not registered, the landlord cannot avail of the dispute resolution services of the RTB should an issue arise with the tenancy.

  To pursue non-compliant landlords, the RTB receives information on residential rented dwellings from several sources. Where non-compliance is identified, notice and warning letters are sent to the landlord. If the landlord still fails to register, enforcement action is taken through the courts.

  The RTB's register of tenancies is available and searchable by rental dwelling address on the RTB's website at the following link https://onestopshop.rtb.ie/check/index.html/  . While legislative changes are proposed in order to publish additional data on rents, it is not proposed to publish individual landlord details.

Parliamentary Questions Data

 268. Deputy Catherine Murphy Information on Catherine Murphy Zoom on Catherine Murphy asked the Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht Information on Josepha Madigan Zoom on Josepha Madigan 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. [52237/18]

Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht (Deputy Josepha Madigan): Information on Josepha Madigan Zoom on Josepha Madigan I am advised that the number of Parliamentary Questions (total of Oral + Written) my Department has processed for each of the last three years are as follows; 904 in 2016, 1,567 in 2017 and 1,332 up to the end of November for the current year.  No Parliamentary Questions have been referred to bodies or agencies under the aegis of my Department for direct reply during this period. 

As the Deputy will be aware, the processing of Parliamentary Questions including the preparation of replies, forms part of the normal workload of civil servants.  Accordingly questions are assigned for answer to and addressed by the relevant section of my Department as they arise.  Public affairs companies are not involved in the preparation of parliamentary replies. From time to time, non-Departmental staff, including relevant bodies under the aegis of the Department, contracted specialists and advisers may have an input into the drafting process of replies where necessary or appropriate.

Departmental Budgets

 269. Deputy Dara Calleary Information on Dara Calleary Zoom on Dara Calleary asked the Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht Information on Josepha Madigan Zoom on Josepha Madigan if she 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 she will make a statement on the matter. [52398/18]

Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht (Deputy Josepha Madigan): Information on Josepha Madigan Zoom on Josepha Madigan The carryover of unspent capital monies from one year into the next is at the discretion of the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform and is also subject to approval by the Dáil. The level of carryover to be approved, if any, is also at that Minister's discretion.

Any application from my Department to carryover unspent capital monies from 2018 to 2019 will fall to be assessed by the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform and if approved, published as part of the Revised Estimates for 2019 later this month.  At the time of publication the carryover amount and the subhead designation will be provisional and will need to be confirmed by Ministerial Order no later than 31 March 2019.

Departmental Budgets

 270. Deputy Dara Calleary Information on Dara Calleary Zoom on Dara Calleary asked the Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht Information on Josepha Madigan Zoom on Josepha Madigan the amount of capital allocated to her Department in 2018; the amount spent to date; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [52399/18]

Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht (Deputy Josepha Madigan): Information on Josepha Madigan Zoom on Josepha Madigan The 2018 capital allocation for my Department is €54.3 million as published in the 2018 Revised Estimates is contained in the following link: https://www.chg.gov.ie/app/uploads/2015/07/2018rev.pdf

  Details of capital expenditure by my Department and all Government departments are published by the Department of Finance on a monthly basis at  https://www.finance.gov.ie/archive-of-fiscal-monitors/   

  Capital expenditure to 31 October 2018 for my Department amounted to €32 million - approx. 80% of profile.  All expenditure within my Department's Vote will continue to be carefully monitored between now and year end to ensure the best use of available financial resources.

Departmental Budgets

 271. Deputy Dara Calleary Information on Dara Calleary Zoom on Dara Calleary asked the Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht Information on Josepha Madigan Zoom on Josepha Madigan the current and capital funding allocated for each scheme and programme in 2016, 2017, 2018 and 2019 under her Department or the bodies under the remit of her Department; and the amount expended in each such year to date in 2018 for each scheme in tabular form. [52400/18]

Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht (Deputy Josepha Madigan): Information on Josepha Madigan Zoom on Josepha Madigan As the Deputy will appreciate my Department operates a wide range of funding schemes across all areas of the Departments' remit.

  In view of this and because of the wide range of my Department’s schemes and programmes, along with those schemes administered by bodies under the aegis if my Department, it is not possible to provide the information sought. However, if the Deputy has specific queries relating to a particular programme or grant, I will endeavour to provide her with relevant information in that regard.

Details of funding allocations and awards are published on my Department's website at www.chg.gov.ie  from time to time. In common with all Government Departments, details of annual expenditure are also included in the annual Appropriation Accounts. 

  Details of 2019 allocations across all programme areas and subheads will be available as part of the 2019 Revised Estimates due to be published  by the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform later this month.

  For the Deputy's convenience a summary of the various funding areas and the links to detailed information in respect of funding available from my Department is set out in the following table.

Programme Area Details available at:
Arts Film and Investment http://www.chg.gov.ie/about/information-requests/freedom-of-information/foi-publications-scheme/services-provided-by-the-department/arts-unit/#grantfunding
Cultural Policy and Institutions http://www.chg.gov.ie/about/information-requests/%20freedom-of-information/foi-publications-scheme/services-%20provided-by-the-department/cultural-policy-and-institutions-unit/#grantfunding
Culture Ireland http://www.cultureireland.ie/funding
Creative Ireland https://www.chg.gov.ie/arts/creative-arts/creative-ireland-programme/

Built Heritage & Architectural Policy http://www.chg.gov.ie/about/information-requests/%20freedom-of-information/foi-publications-scheme/%20services-provided-by-the-department/built-heritage-%20and-architectural-policy-unit/#grantfunding
National Monuments Service http://www.chg.gov.ie/about/information-requests/freedom-of-information/foi-publications-scheme/services-provided-by-the-department/national-monuments-service/#grantfunding
Gaeltacht Support Schemes https://www.chg.gov.ie/gaeltacht/the-gaeltacht/language-support-schemes-programmes/
Irish Language Support Schemes https://www.chg.gov.ie/gaeltacht/the-irish-language/language-support-schemes/

National Development Plan Expenditure

 272. Deputy Mattie McGrath Information on Mattie McGrath Zoom on Mattie McGrath asked the Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht Information on Josepha Madigan Zoom on Josepha Madigan the areas the €1.2 billion of culture, heritage and Irish language funding has been invested in to date (details supplied); and if she will make a statement on the matter. [52407/18]

Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht (Deputy Josepha Madigan): Information on Josepha Madigan Zoom on Josepha Madigan Project Ireland 2040 – the National Planning Framework and associated 10 year National Development Plan (NDP) – explicitly recognises that our culture, language and heritage are integral to the sustainable development of the country and underpins this recognition by a commitment to invest in excess of €1.2 billion in our culture, language and heritage over the next 10 years.

  €54 million was allocated across these programme areas in 2018 as year one of this 10 year plan.  The detailed break-out of the 2018 allocation is published in the Revised Estimates Volume for this year at www.per.gov.ie/wp-content/uploads/REV-2018-compressed.pdf.

  €75 million is to be allocated across the programme areas in 2019 and the detailed break-out of allocations across programme areas will be made available in the soon to be published 2019 Revised Estimates.  However, I can advise the Deputy that broadly speaking, €190 million will be available for culture; €80 million for our heritage including our waterways and €69 million for our language.

  The break-out of the annual allocations for subsequent years will be determined having regard to the scheduling of delivery of projects and programmes in accordance with the outcome of the requisite appraisal and planning phases under the Public Spending Code.

  I would draw the Deputy’s attention to the 20 Year Strategy for the Irish Language 2010-2030 and specifically to its associated Action Plan 2018-2022.  Both of these documents are uploaded onto my Department’s website and provide the background to specific areas of Government investment in the Irish Language and the Gaeltacht. www.chg.gov.ie/gaeltacht.

  Generally speaking, recruitment into the Civil Service is managed through the Public Appointments Service (PAS) www.publicjobs.ie  and I am pleased to inform the Deputy that, as recently as last summer, PAS organised a competition for Clerical Officers in the civil service which was specifically targeted at potential candidates with a proficiency in the Irish language.  In addition, the European Personnel Selection Office (EPSO) www.epso.europa.eu  just recently ran a competition seeking 72 Irish language translators for permanent positions in the institutions of EU, while the  European institutions also regularly announce the availability of temporary employment opportunities for Irish language linguists and maintain lists of potential applicants for that purpose.

   As the Deputy may be aware, in line with the provisions of the Gaeltacht Act 2012, my Department, in partnership with both Údarás na Gaeltachta and Foras na Gaeilge, is currently rolling-out the language planning process in some 45 Gaeltacht Language Planning Areas, Gaeltacht Service Towns and Irish Language Networks, all of which will require the recruitment locally of Language Planning Officers over the next two years.

  All of these initiatives are improving employment opportunities for Irish speakers and will continue to do so over the next number of years.


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