Houses of the Oireachtas

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

Go to oireachtas.ie

 Header Item Written Answers Nos. 261-277
 Header Item Local Authority Housing Data
 Header Item Local Authority Housing Waiting Lists
 Header Item Rental Sector Strategy
 Header Item Planning Issues
 Header Item Local Authority Housing Eligibility
 Header Item Local Authority Management
 Header Item Departmental Correspondence
 Header Item Heritage Sites
 Header Item Irish Language
 Header Item Inland Waterways Development
 Header Item Inland Waterways Development
 Header Item Ulster Canal Restoration Project
 Header Item Arts and Culture Capital Scheme Funding
 Header Item Hare Coursing Regulation
 Header Item Irish Language

Wednesday, 20 February 2019

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 979 No. 6

First Page Previous Page Page of 86 Next Page Last Page

Written Answers Nos. 261-277

Local Authority Housing Data

 261. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan Information on Bernard Durkan Zoom on Bernard Durkan asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government Information on Eoghan Murphy Zoom on Eoghan Murphy the number of local authority housing tenancies entered into in the past 12 months; the number of tenancies arranged between approved housing bodies and local authority housing applicants in the same period; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [8714/19]

Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government (Deputy Eoghan Murphy): Information on Eoghan Murphy Zoom on Eoghan Murphy My Department does not hold information on the number of social housing tenancies entered into by local authorities or Approved Housing Bodies (AHBs) each year. The allocation of social housing dwellings is a matter for each local authority.

Local Authority Housing Waiting Lists

 262. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan Information on Bernard Durkan Zoom on Bernard Durkan asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government Information on Eoghan Murphy Zoom on Eoghan Murphy the number of new applicants registered on local authority housing waiting lists in each of the past 12 months; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [8715/19]

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), which has been carried out on an annual basis since 2016.

  The most recent assessment, carried out in June 2018, which is available at the link below, shows that 71,858 households were assessed as qualified and being in need of social housing support. This represents a decrease of 13,941 households or 16.2% on the last assessment in June 2017. A breakdown of this figure by the length of time households have been on the list is also available at the following link, although it does not record data on a month by month basis in the manner sought.   

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

  

Rental Sector Strategy

 263. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan Information on Bernard Durkan Zoom on Bernard Durkan asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government Information on Eoghan Murphy Zoom on Eoghan Murphy the steps that will be taken to ameliorate the situation affecting families becoming homeless through buy-to-let repossessions; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [8716/19]

Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government (Deputy Eoghan Murphy): Information on Eoghan Murphy Zoom on Eoghan Murphy The appointment of a receiver to a dwelling can cause confusion and distress to tenants and in circumstances where a receiver is appointed to a rented dwelling, it is essential that the rights of tenants are protected.

  A number of measures have been introduced in recent years with the objective of improving security of tenure for tenants. Security of tenure provisions under the Residential Tenancies Acts 2004-2016 apply once a tenant has been in occupation of a dwelling for a continuous period of 6 months, with no notice of termination having been served during that time. Section 34 provides that a landlord must state a reason for the termination in any notice served, in line with those set out in section 34 of the Act.

  The so-called ‘Tyrrelstown amendment', included in the 2016 Planning and Development (Housing) and Residential Tenancies Act, already limits the ability of landlords to use the grounds of sale to terminate tenancies, provided for in section 34 of the Residential Tenancies Act. Where a landlord proposes to sell 10 or more units within a single development at the same time, that sale will now be subject to the existing tenants remaining in situ, other than in exceptional circumstances.

  The Residential Tenancies (Amendment) Act 2015 provided for notice periods for the termination of further Part 4 tenancies, i.e. tenancies that extended beyond 4 years, to be extended pro rata in line with the length of the tenancy, subject to caps of 224 days for termination by landlords and 112 days for terminations by tenants (previously 112 days for landlords and 56 days for tenants).

  My Department established a working group with representation from the Departments of Justice & Equality, Finance, and Business, Enterprise & Innovation, the Office of the Attorney General and the Residential Tenancies Board, to examine the scope for amending legislation to provide for greater protection of tenants’ rights during the receivership process, e.g. by ensuring that persons appointed as receivers will be required to fulfil some of the obligations of a landlord. The Working Group has finalised its report, which is now under my consideration. Some changes to legislation within the remit of other Departments may also be required.

   The Residential Tenancies Board (RTB) was established as an independent statutory body under the Acts to operate a national tenancy registration system and to resolve disputes between landlords and tenants. Section 56 of the Act provides that, where there is an abuse of the termination procedure in section 34, a tenant may bring a complaint to the RTB on the basis that they have been unjustly deprived of possession of a dwelling by their landlord.

  Further information from the RTB is available at https://onestopshop.rtb.ie/ and through the RTB helpline - Lo-call on 0818 30 30 37 (mobile operators may charge a premium rate to the Lo-call number) or 01 702 8100 - available from Monday to Friday, 8:30am to 6.30pm.

  The national housing charity, Threshold, operates the Tenancy Protection Service (TPS) which is a national service providing advice and support to households living in private rented accommodation who are experiencing tenancy problems, including where a tenancy is at risk of termination. The TPS seeks to protect existing tenancies and keep tenants in their homes. The TPS helpline on free-phone 1800 454 454 – available from Monday to Friday, 9am to 9pm. Further information is also available at www.threshold.ie.

  Households at risk of becoming homeless can seek assistance from their local authority. Any household assessed as eligible for social housing is immediately eligible for housing support through the Housing Assistance Payment (HAP) scheme. Once a household has been deemed eligible for social housing support, it is a matter for the local authority to examine the suite of social housing supports available, including the HAP scheme, to determine the most appropriate form of social housing support for that household in the administrative area of that local authority. This includes determining whether it is appropriate to refer a household to the Homeless HAP Place Finder service, which is a targeted support for households in emergency homeless accommodation, or who are at immediate risk of entering emergency accommodation, who may find it difficult to secure accommodation via the HAP scheme.

  The Homeless HAP Placefinder can engage directly with property owners, support qualified households to find suitable tenancies and ensure that any additional supports that may be needed are put in place. The Place Finder Service can assist by paying deposits and advance rental payments, within HAP limits.

  In the Dublin region, tenants can contact the Dublin Regional Homeless Executive's Central Placement Service homeless helpline at 1800-707-707.

Planning Issues

 264. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan Information on Bernard Durkan Zoom on Bernard Durkan asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government Information on Eoghan Murphy Zoom on Eoghan Murphy the extent to which planning procedures can be expedited to facilitate the building of extra local authority houses with particular reference to the need to make a serious impact on the number on local authority waiting lists; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [8717/19]

Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government (Deputy Eoghan Murphy): Information on Eoghan Murphy Zoom on Eoghan Murphy The Planning and Development (Housing) and Residential Tenancies Act 2016 amended section 179 of the Planning and Development Act 2000 relating to the arrangements for the approval by local authorities of their own development proposals, often referred to as the Part 8 process. This amendment required a supporting amendment to the Planning and Development Regulations 2001, as amended, which was provided for in the Planning and Development (Strategic Housing Development) Regulations 2017.

Under the new arrangements, which came into operation with effect from 3 July 2017, the maximum timeframe for the determination of local authority-own development proposals is now 20 weeks from the date of issue of the proposals for public consultation by the Chief Executive, whereas previously there was no maximum timeframe.

These reforms provide greater certainty for local authorities around the decision timelines associated with such own-development proposals, including proposals for social housing projects and infrastructure servicing both public and private development.

Question No. 265 answered with Question No. 259.

Local Authority Housing Eligibility

 266. Deputy Carol Nolan Information on Carol Nolan Zoom on Carol Nolan asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government Information on Eoghan Murphy Zoom on Eoghan Murphy when the review relating to housing income limits will be published; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [8726/19]

Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government (Deputy Eoghan Murphy): Information on Eoghan Murphy Zoom on Eoghan Murphy The Social Housing Assessment Regulations 2011 prescribe maximum net income limits for each local authority, in different bands according to the area concerned, with income being defined and assessed according to a standard Household Means Policy.

The income bands and the authority area assigned to each band were based on an assessment of the income needed to provide for a household's basic needs, plus a comparative analysis of the local rental cost of housing accommodation across the country. It is important to note that the limits introduced at that time also reflected a blanket increase of €5,000 introduced prior to the new system coming into operation, in order to broaden the base from which social housing tenants are drawn, both promoting sustainable communities and also providing a degree of future-proofing.

As part of the broader social housing reform agenda, a review of income eligibility for social housing supports in each local authority area is underway. The Housing Agency is continuing to carry out the detailed statistical work, which will underpin this review, on behalf of my Department.

The review will also have regard to current initiatives being brought forward in terms of affordability and cost rental and will be completed when the impacts of these parallel initiatives have been considered.

Question No. 267 answered with Question No. 257.

Local Authority Management

 268. Deputy John McGuinness Information on John McGuinness Zoom on John McGuinness asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government Information on Eoghan Murphy Zoom on Eoghan Murphy his views on alleged financial irregularities at Cavan County Council; if an investigation was carried out by his Department or the local authority in question; if a report arising from the investigation is available; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [8773/19]

Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government (Deputy Eoghan Murphy): Information on Eoghan Murphy Zoom on Eoghan Murphy An investigation into allegations of financial irregularities in Cavan County Council was completed last year. My Department received a copy of the report of that investigation from Cavan County Council in August 2018, which I understand is being followed up appropriately by the Council.

My Department continues to engage with Cavan County Council in relation to the matters involved and will be considering what further actions may be appropriate, beyond those being taken by the Council itself.

Departmental Correspondence

 269. Deputy John McGuinness Information on John McGuinness Zoom on John McGuinness asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government Information on Eoghan Murphy Zoom on Eoghan Murphy further to previous parliamentary questions, the status of information provided to his Department in June 2016 by a person (details supplied); the reason for the delay in providing a final response to the person; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [8775/19]

Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government (Deputy Eoghan Murphy): Information on Eoghan Murphy Zoom on Eoghan Murphy While the delay in meeting the request by the person named for my Department's full and detailed response to the submission in question is regretted, the matter is complex and requires the need to comply with the general principles of natural justice and fair procedures, including for third parties named in the submission.

My Department, in consultation with the Office of the Attorney General, is currently finalising its analysis of the submission made by the person referred to, with a view to communicating the outcome of the process to that person as soon as possible.

Heritage Sites

 270. Deputy Eamon Ryan Information on Eamon Ryan Zoom on Eamon Ryan asked the Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht Information on Josepha Madigan Zoom on Josepha Madigan her plans to purchase a location (details supplied) in view of the unique archaeological and ecological importance of same. [8566/19]

Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht (Deputy Josepha Madigan): Information on Josepha Madigan Zoom on Josepha Madigan In the interests of the preservation, conservation, management and presentation of the built and archaeological heritage, my Department seeks to acquire certain heritage properties and monuments as resources and opportunities permit. From time to time these may come onto the open market, may be bequeathed to the State or may be offered to it free of cost. In addition, lands surrounding or in proximity to national monuments or heritage properties in State care (i.e. incorporating the setting of the monuments/properties) often reside in private ownership. In certain cases, improved protection of the monument/property, or access to the monument/property, would be possible if the State was to acquire such additional lands.

In all cases the Department examines the potential acquisition carefully, taking into account the conservation needs of the property and Value for Money principles.

The national monuments in State care already number some one thousand sites at over 760 locations around the country and these command considerable resource commitments in terms of both funding and personnel allocation. In addition, there are in excess of 120,000 monuments listed in the Record of Monuments and Places that are not maintained by the State. Recorded monuments are protected under Section 12 of the 1994 National Monuments (Amendment) Act and two months’ notice is required to be given to my Department in advance of works at, or in their vicinity.

The property at the location referred to by the Deputy contains a national monument in my ownership as Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht. The day-to-day care of the monument is undertaken by the Office of Public Works on behalf of, and in consultation with, my Department. The national monument is fully protected under the provisions of the National Monuments Acts, 1930-2014, and any works at or in its vicinity require Ministerial Consent under Section 14 of the 1930 Act. There are also a number of recorded monuments on the property in private ownership, which are also protected under national monuments legislation.

My Department, in cooperation with the Office of Public Works, is only in a position to acquire, maintain, conserve and present to the public a limited number of properties and monuments.

It is not deemed prudent policy to disclose in advance potential interest or not in future purchases.

Irish Language

 271. 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 progress made on implementing all aspects of the 20-Year Strategy for the Irish Language 2010 - 2030 that are relevant to her Department and bodies under her remit; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [8616/19]

Minister of State at the Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht (Deputy Seán Kyne): Information on Seán Kyne Zoom on Seán Kyne As the Deputy is aware, my Department has overall responsibility for coordinating the implementation of the 20-Year Strategy for the Irish Language 2010-2030 which represents the state's policy on the Irish language. Since the Strategy was launched in 2010 following cross-party approval, circa €400 million has been invested by the Exchequer via my Department in support of the language and the implementation of the strategy.

  This significant figure which represents year on year increases does not include exchequer investment in support of the language provided by other Government Departments, including the Department of Education and Skills.

  Notwithstanding the challenges presented in advancing implementation of the strategy with significantly curtailed resources in its early years, significant progress has been and continues to be made in advancing its implementation.

  Key measures include:

  - The enactment of the Gaeltacht Act in 2012 and the subsequent and ongoing implementation of the language planning process set across all Gaeltacht regions in addition to Gaeltacht Service Towns and Irish Language Networks as prescribed under the Act.

  - The publication by the Department of Education and Skills in 2016 of the Policy on Gaeltacht Education 2017 – 2022 and its ongoing implementation, in partnership with my Department and other key stakeholders.

  - The implementation of a comprehensive Irish language training program in the public sector.

  - The progression of a Digital Plan for the Irish Language.

  - The development of a new English-Irish online dictionary, www.foclóir.ie, by Foras na Gaeilge.

  - The decision to end the Irish language derogation in the European Union by 2021.

  - The creation of in the region of 500 jobs per annum by Údarás na Gaeltachta.

  A more detailed overview of the progress being made in support the language and Gaeltacht regions is provided in my Department's Annual Report as well as on my Department's website.

  In order to accelerate implementation, the House will be aware that my Department published a 5 Year Action Plan for the Irish Language in June 2018 following Government approval. While the plan presents an overview of the progress made since 2010, its primary focus is on clarifying and presenting actions which will be implemented over the 5-year lifetime of the plan to further underpin the language and by extension support the implementation of the strategy.

  The plan outlines more than 180 specific measures that will be implemented by over 60 stakeholders on a cross-Governmental basis over the period, while also outlining a more efficient and effective approach to monitoring progress in order to provide for greater accountability and clarity. Key to this revised approach to monitoring progress will be the publication on an annual basis of a progress report following Government approval. An oversight group, which has been tasked with monitoring progress, has already met twice since publication of the Action Plan in 2018 and minutes of its meetings will be made available on an ongoing basis on my Department's website and also provided to Coiste Oireachtais na Gaeilge, na Gaeltachta agus na nOileán.

Inland Waterways Development

 272. Deputy Brendan Smith Information on Brendan Smith Zoom on Brendan Smith asked the Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht Information on Josepha Madigan Zoom on Josepha Madigan if there have been recent developments in the proposal to advance a project (details supplied); and if she will make a statement on the matter. [8730/19]

Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht (Deputy Josepha Madigan): Information on Josepha Madigan Zoom on Josepha Madigan I can confirm that following a commitment I gave to Deputy Smith last October, Waterways Ireland have recently re-examined the development potential of extending the Erne navigation from Belturbet to Killykeen/Killeshandra, Co Cavan. The preliminary work previously completed has now been externally reviewed. However, the results of the initial assessment remain unchanged in that significant environmental impact would occur to the designated Lough Oughter habitat and a works project would not be permitted under current environmental regulations.

Waterways Ireland manages and maintains the navigation on the River Erne in County Cavan as part of the Shannon–Erne Waterway. Waterways Ireland’s public jetties are provided in both Belturbet and Kilconny and the navigation channel is provided with navigation markers and signage as and where required. The upper limit of the managed navigation on the River Erne is currently just below Erne Bridge between Belturbet and Kilconny.

Whilst there is no specific legal obligation on Waterways Ireland to deliver a Navigation Plan for the Lough Oughter complex, the preparation of a draft Navigation Plan was initiated in line with the organisation's overall recreational remit in 2008. Waterways Ireland initiated a Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) of this draft Plan to establish a new navigation on Lough Oughter from Belturbet to Killeshandra.

Lough Oughter has a number of international conservation designations including being a candidate Special Area of Conservation, a Special Protection Area, a proposed Natural Heritage Area, a Ramsar site and a Natura 2000 site. Also there are a number of national and local monuments, and sites of historical/archaeological interest located within the Lough Oughter area.

During the initial data gathering process required for an SEA, the extent of concern for the protection of environmental and architectural heritage was raised by the statutory environmental authorities in both jurisdictions {National Parks & Wildlife Service (NPWS), Northern Ireland Environment Agency (NIEA)}.

A critical issue was the level of impoundment, the extent to which water levels would be raised throughout the system and impacts on the habitats on the extensive water margin. Detailed hydrological modelling and analyses of the entire Lough Oughter complex and potential impacts downstream from the development would be required to determine the actual extent/significance of impacts on the site. In addition as indicated by NPWS and NIEA during the Scoping Phase, given the site’s ecological significance, a detailed habitat survey of the entire shoreline area and comprehensive ecological assessment of the potential impacts on protected species is necessary to fully assess the proposal.

The SEA process indicated that considerable environmental and hydrological assessment would be required to complete any proposed Lough Oughter Navigation Plan. The expenditure necessary to carry out this work is estimated to be in the region of €300,000 and the result is likely to confirm the initial assessment that significant environmental impact will occur to the Designated Lough Oughter habitat and a works project would not be permitted under current environmental regulations. In addition to this, it was estimated in 2014 that development of the navigation would cost between €922,000 (lowest tender) and €1,382,000 (highest tender).

Waterways Ireland has concluded that without an imperative reason of public interest (IRPOI) for the project, creating navigation is not a prospect either in terms of the adverse impact on the European site or in terms of offering value for money in public expenditure.

There is already extensive existing underused navigation for example at Belturbet and Waterways Ireland has reiterated the potential in the waters of the Lough Oughter area being promoted as a distinct Blueway. The national context is that Blueways Ireland (National Trails Office, Canoeing Ireland and other state bodies) is currently considering the establishment of Blueways beyond the Waterways Ireland network of inland waterways.

To this end, Waterways Ireland has met with the Chief Executive of Cavan County Council, other council officials and elected representatives concerning Blueways developed successfully on the Waterways Ireland network to advise on possible ways forward. Waterways Ireland is happy to support Cavan County Council should it decide to develop a Blueway on the River Erne from Belturbet to Killykeen and Killeshandra but as the area is officially outside of their remit, this offer extends to advice and support only.

Inland Waterways Development

 273. Deputy Brendan Smith Information on Brendan Smith Zoom on Brendan Smith asked the Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht Information on Josepha Madigan Zoom on Josepha Madigan the blueway development projects which will be progressed in 2019; the funding for each project; the timescale for the development of each project; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [8731/19]

Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht (Deputy Josepha Madigan): Information on Josepha Madigan Zoom on Josepha Madigan Waterways Ireland commenced the development of Blueways as a means to attract new visitors to use the waterways, recognising changes in recreational activity with the growth in demand for activities such as walking, canoeing, cycling and stand up paddle boarding, on and beside the water in a comfortable, safe environment.

  Waterways Ireland is continuing to support and expand the existing network of Blueway trails across its waterways, including the Shannon Blueway, the Shannon-Erne Blueway, the Lough Derg Blueway and the Mullingar Blueway on the Royal Canal.

  In 2019 the following Blueway development projects will progress, subject to additional third party funding being made available (together with Waterways Ireland match funded share).

Project / Timeline 3rd Party (€) Waterways Ireland (€)
Shannon Blueway Acres Lake to Lough Allen1.8km of Blueway trail with associated signage and interpretative panels. The pathway will connect the existing Blueway with the Lough Allen Hotel and the Education centre, with a new pedestrian bridge across the Millrace River. The development also includes new car parking facilities, pedestrian crossings and new safe access and egress points on and off the Blueway trails. Approximately 50% of the overall works is complete to date, and the anticipated completion of the overall project is April 2019. 305,000 76,800
Blueway Leitrim Village to Kilclare Trail DevelopmentThe detailed design process for the trail is currently underway and the tender and award of the contract will take place in 2019, with commencement of construction towards the end of 2019. 648,000 162,000
Blueway Ballyconnell to Bellaheady Bridge Trail DevelopmentThe on road works section will be completed in 2019. The detailed design process for the off-road section is currently underway and the tender and award of the contract will take place in 2019, with commencement of construction of this section towards the end of year. 1,118,235 124,500
*Third party funding comprises funds provided through relevant Local Authorities, the Department of Rural and Community Development, and the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport.

Ulster Canal Restoration Project

 274. Deputy Brendan Smith Information on Brendan Smith Zoom on Brendan Smith asked the Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht Information on Josepha Madigan Zoom on Josepha Madigan the specific funding allocation for the restoration of the Ulster Canal in 2019; the works to be undertaken; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [8732/19]

Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht (Deputy Josepha Madigan): Information on Josepha Madigan Zoom on Josepha Madigan In July 2007, the North South Ministerial Council agreed to a proposal to restore a 13km section of the Ulster Canal from Upper Lough Erne to Clones. This project is hugely important for the border region with potential to stimulate economic activity, giving a much needed boost to job creation and with the growth in water based tourism helping to attract significant numbers of visitors to the area. This is increasingly significant in the context of Brexit.

  Government approval for Phase 1 of this project, to restore a 2.5 km stretch of the Ulster Canal from Upper Lough Erne in County Fermanagh to the International Scout Centre at Castle Saunderson near Belturbet in Co. Cavan, was secured in February 2015.   

  The works to complete this first phase have recently been concluded. A new 250m bypass canal and new road bridge to provide navigation around the existing road bridge serving Derrykerrib Island, which had insufficient head height for navigation, have now been constructed. Installation of moorings at Castlesaunderson as a destination for boats using the newly opened navigation from the Erne to Castlesaunderson will be completed in 2019.

  Funding of €260,000 has been allocated towards the restoration of the Ulster Canal in 2019. Waterways Ireland anticipates expenditure of €160,000 to complete payment for works at Derrykerrib and €100,000 for construction works for Castlesaunderson public moorings.

  In May 2018, the Government approved Phase 2, the development of the amenity of a 13km section of the Ulster Canal from Upper Lough Erne to Clones - with the first element being a water amenity in Clones, and re-committed to developing this cross-border stretch under the Project Ireland 2040 plan, in the category of Investing in our Culture, Language and Heritage.

  Further funding of €325,000 was allocated under the Rural Regeneration and Development Fund for this second phase of development to develop the Clones Terminal, along the original route of the Ulster Canal.

Arts and Culture Capital Scheme Funding

 275. Deputy Róisín Shortall Information on Róisín Shortall Zoom on Róisín Shortall asked the Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht Information on Josepha Madigan Zoom on Josepha Madigan the reason for the cost overruns in a project (details supplied); the status of discussions with Cork City Council as to the way in which additional funding announced in 2018 for the project is to be allocated; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [8762/19]

Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht (Deputy Josepha Madigan): Information on Josepha Madigan Zoom on Josepha Madigan This is a project led by Cork City Council with the development company BAM, having been selected by Cork City Council as the preferred tenderer. BAM in turn has engaged international events company Live Nation as the preferred operator. The project is ultimately being developed and managed by Cork City Council. This means that Cork City Council has responsibility for its delivery.

The latest financial projections provided by Cork City Council to my Department indicates an increase in the original cost of project compared to when the project tender was issued in December 2014, which had an estimated cost of €50 million. The cost is now estimated at some €80 million. A significant part of this increase is accounted for by a redesign of the facility since the original tender to allow for an increase in the capacity of the venue.

In light of this cost increase, Cork City Council wrote to my Department seeking additional funding of €10m for the project from the Exchequer. This would bring the Exchequer contribution to €22 million and total public funding to €30 million.

Following detailed consideration and in light of the additional works which are now required for the Event Centre, my Department considers that, in accordance with public procurement rules, the total public funding for the project may be increased by €10 million to €30 million, made up of grant aid of €21 million and a repayable loan of €9 million.

Officials in my Department wrote to Cork City Council on 21 December 2018 regarding the provision of additional public funding for the development of the Event Centre. Furthermore, officials in my Department met with Cork City Council officials in January to discuss all aspects around the public funding elements of the project.

Cork City Council is now reviewing the potential additional funding available and has stated they will formally respond to my Department shortly on this matter.

Hare Coursing Regulation

 276. Deputy Maureen O'Sullivan Information on Maureen O'Sullivan Zoom on Maureen O'Sullivan asked the Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht Information on Josepha Madigan Zoom on Josepha Madigan her views on the need to establish more robust criteria for the granting of licences in view of the amount of footage and evidence brought forward by animal welfare groups on breaches of licences for coursing clubs. [8763/19]

Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht (Deputy Josepha Madigan): Information on Josepha Madigan Zoom on Josepha Madigan My Department issued the Irish Coursing Club with licences in August 2018 on behalf of its affiliated clubs to capture and tag hares for the 2018/19 coursing season. There are 29 conditions associated with the licences issued to the Irish Coursing Club which have been developed and refined over the years.

Officials of the NPWS of my Department have monitored 33 coursing events during the current 2018/19 season to date. During the previous 2017/18 season, 35 coursing events were monitored while during the 2016/17 season a total of 17 coursing events were monitored by my Department.

The final event of the current coursing season will take place next Sunday 24 February. All reports in relation to the season will be reviewed and all issues arising, including possible breaches of conditions, will be investigated and considered in the context of applications for licences by the Irish Coursing Club for the 2019/20 coursing season.

Irish Language

 277. Deputy Maureen O'Sullivan Information on Maureen O'Sullivan Zoom on Maureen O'Sullivan asked the Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht Information on Josepha Madigan Zoom on Josepha Madigan the role of her Department in supporting an Gaeilge; and her plans to celebrate Seachtain na Gaeilge in March 2019. [8764/19]

Minister of State at the Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht (Deputy Seán Kyne): Information on Seán Kyne Zoom on Seán Kyne The 20-Year Strategy for the Irish Language 2010-2030 (the Strategy), which represents the cornerstone of the Government’s policy on the Irish language, was published in December 2010, following cross-party support in the Houses of the Oireachtas.

  The Strategy contains a range of recommendations across nine areas, namely Education; The Gaeltacht; Family Transmission of the Language - Early Intervention; Administration, Services and Community; Media and Technology; Dictionaries; Legislation and Status; Economic Life; and Cross-cutting Initiatives.

  The Strategy has cross-departmental ownership and, accordingly, responsibility for its implementation falls on a number of Government Departments, bodies and Irish language and Gaeltacht organisations.

  The Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht (DCHG) has overall responsibility for coordinating the implementation of the Strategy.

  As a result of a consultation process organised by the Department on the matter, the need for a 5-Year Action Plan was identified. Subsequently, in June 2018, my Department published the 5-Year Action Plan 2018-2022 which contains specified strategic priorities for the next five years, along with a timeline for their implementation. The focus of the Plan is on the measures to be implemented in the period to 2022 to further support the Irish language and the Gaeltacht in the overall context of the nine areas for action as set out in the 20 Year Strategy for the Irish language.

  The Plan outlines over 180 specific measures that will be implemented in conjunction with approximately 60 stakeholders on a cross-Departmental basis in support of the Irish language and the Gaeltacht from now until 2022. The Plan also outlines a revised approach to monitoring progress in order to provide for greater accountability.

  Even at this early stage, I am satisfied that significant progress has been made already in relation to implementing the plan.

  I should also add that my Department provides significant co-funding to Foras na Gaeilge to carry out its statutory mandate to promote the Irish language on an all-island basis. In 2018 total funding of €12.6m was provided to Foras na Gaeilge from my Department, including provision for Bliain na Gaeilge 2018. This funding, along with funding from the Department for Communities in Northern Ireland, enables Foras na Gaeilge to provide support, advice and financial assistance to many groups and the six lead organisations, who are working to promote the Irish language in the community, including Conradh na Gaeilge who has responsibility, inter alia, for Seachtain na Gaeilge.

  I am pleased to inform the Deputy that Seachtain na Gaeilge will take place from 1- 17 March in 2019 from within co-funding provided to Foras na Gaeilge and it is expected that Conradh na Gaeilge will organise another excellent Irish language festival this year. Further details are available at https://snag.ie/.


Last Updated: 15/06/2020 08:34:44 First Page Previous Page Page of 86 Next Page Last Page