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 Header Item Written Answers Nos. 570-589
 Header Item Social Welfare Appeals Status
 Header Item Departmental Schemes
 Header Item Tree Remediation
 Header Item Water Quality
 Header Item Harbours and Piers
 Header Item Local Authority Housing Waiting Lists
 Header Item Housing Assistance Payment Data
 Header Item Foreshore Issues
 Header Item Local Authority Housing Mortgages
 Header Item Social and Affordable Housing Data
 Header Item Rental Accommodation Standards
 Header Item Housing Data
 Header Item Vacant Properties Data
 Header Item Vacant Properties Data
 Header Item Vacant Properties Data
 Header Item Housing Assistance Payment Eligibility
 Header Item Regional Development Initiatives
 Header Item Planning Guidelines
 Header Item Housing Adaptation Grant Eligibility

Tuesday, 5 March 2019

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 980 No. 4

First Page Previous Page Page of 91 Next Page Last Page

Written Answers Nos. 570-589

Social Welfare Appeals Status

 570. Deputy Niamh Smyth Information on Niamh Smyth Zoom on Niamh Smyth asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection Information on Regina Doherty Zoom on Regina Doherty if an appeal by a person (details supplied) will be expedited; the status of the matter; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [10939/19]

Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection (Deputy Regina Doherty): Information on Regina Doherty Zoom on Regina Doherty The Social Welfare Appeals Office has advised me that an appeal by the person concerned was registered in that office on 20th September 2018.  It is a statutory requirement of the appeals process that the relevant papers and comments by or on behalf of the Deciding Officer on the grounds of appeal be sought from the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection.  These papers were received in the Social Welfare Appeals Office on 28th January 2019 and the case will be referred to an Appeals Officer who will make a summary decision on the appeal based on documentary evidence presented or, if required, hold an oral hearing.

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

I trust this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.

Departmental Schemes

 571. Deputy Paul Kehoe Information on Paul Kehoe Zoom on Paul Kehoe asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government Information on Eoghan Murphy Zoom on Eoghan Murphy if the regulations for the housing aid for older people grant can be reviewed to allow for an application to be approved for persons (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [10656/19]

Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government (Deputy Eoghan Murphy): Information on Eoghan Murphy Zoom on Eoghan Murphy The regulations governing the Housing Aid for Older People Scheme were reviewed and updated in 2014, to ensure the scheme's continued capability to support older people living in their own homes and communities with dignity and independence for as long as possible.  If further details are provided directly to me in relation to the specific circumstances of the case referred to in the details supplied, I will consider further the necessity for a change to the current regulations.

Tree Remediation

 572. Deputy Marcella Corcoran Kennedy Information on Marcella Corcoran Kennedy Zoom on Marcella Corcoran Kennedy asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government Information on Eoghan Murphy Zoom on Eoghan Murphy if a policy has been developed in respect of the removal of mature trees in towns and villages nationally by local authorities; if a policy has been developed to assist landowners with concerns in relation to the safety of trees on their property in view of the extreme weather events; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [10224/19]

Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government (Deputy Eoghan Murphy): Information on Eoghan Murphy Zoom on Eoghan Murphy My Department is the Lead Government Department for coordinating the response to severe weather events, including those involving high winds. One of the most widespread and potentially dangerous consequence of high wind is the risk of trees breaking and/or falling, posing a danger to motorists and pedestrians in the vicinity. This was the case with ex-Hurricane Ophelia on 16 October 2017, where trees down were reported in many areas across the country, with especially high numbers of roads blocked in the south and south-east regions.

Tragically, the three fatalities which occurred during ex-Hurricane Ophelia, were associated with falling trees and breaking branches. The fatalities underlined the public safety risk of this event which informed the decision of the National Emergency Co-ordination Group to advise the public against undertaking any non-essential activities or travel on 16 October 2017.

In its role as Lead Government Department, my Department has prepared a review report on the severe weather events which affected Ireland between August 2017 and September 2018. The review report includes recommendations for  a risk management approach  to address the issue of trees and public safety. This issue cuts across a number of public bodies and landowners. Under the Roads Act 1993, local authorities have responsibility for trees in public areas while trees on private lands, including lands adjoining public roads, are the legal responsibility of the land owner. 

The inter-departmental recommendations of the review report on severe weather events in 2017/18,  are under active consideration by the Government Task Force on Emergency Planning.

Water Quality

 573. 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 the status of the response of his Department to the letter of formal notice sent in July 2018 from the EU Commission for failing to fulfil its obligations under the drinking water directive (Council Directive 98/83/EC) and allowing exceedance of the parametric value for trihalomethanes.  [10255/19]

Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government (Deputy Eoghan Murphy): Information on Eoghan Murphy Zoom on Eoghan Murphy On 19 July 2018, the European Commission issued a Letter of Formal Notice to Ireland due to exceedances of trihalomethanes (THMs) levels in some drinking water supplies.  The Commission requested that Ireland submit its observations within two months of receipt of the letter (i.e. by 20 September 2018) which was extended to 20 October 2018 at Ireland’s request.

Ireland’s response to the Letter of Formal Notice on 19 October 2018 highlighted the significant progress that has already been made in addressing THM exceedences at public water supplies.  All exceedances in public drinking water supplies will have been addressed by the end of 2021, with the exception of Lough Talt, where there are particular planning issues.  It pointed to the progress made in relation to the 24 group water supplies of which 11 (serving 12,173 persons) have now been addressed and the remainder which will be resolved by the end of 2020.  The response also notified the Commission of the Irish Water procedures now in place for informing consumers served by supplies listed on the EPA Remedial Action List.  This addresses the requirements of Article 8 of the Drinking Water Directive in relation to informing the public about THM exceedences and providing the necessary advice on the precautions to be taken to protect public health.

My Department has not had any further formal correspondence from the Commission since the reply was issued.

Harbours and Piers

 574. Deputy Michael Healy-Rae Information on Michael Healy-Rae Zoom on Michael Healy-Rae asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government Information on Eoghan Murphy Zoom on Eoghan Murphy if a matter will be addressed regarding the condition of a hand rail at a location (details supplied) in County Kerry; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [10259/19]

Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government (Deputy Eoghan Murphy): Information on Eoghan Murphy Zoom on Eoghan Murphy As Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government, I have responsibility for policy, legislation and Oireachtas accountability in respect of the local government system. I also have  policy responsibility in relation to certain functions and services of local authorities, particularly in areas such as housing, but local authorities also operate a range of functions within the policy, legislative and funding frameworks of other Government Departments. In this regard, while I have no function in the matter raised, I understand that Kerry County Council received grant funding from the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine to carry out repairs at Brandon Pier in 2014.

Local Authority Housing Waiting Lists

 575. Deputy Brendan Howlin Information on Brendan Howlin Zoom on Brendan Howlin asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government Information on Eoghan Murphy Zoom on Eoghan Murphy the number of persons on each local authority housing waiting list by single adults and those with children, respectively, by local authority, in tabular form; and if he will make a statement on the matter.  [10263/19]

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 set out in the statutory Summary of Social Housing Assessments (SSHA).  Since 2016, the summary process has been carried out on an annual basis.

  The SSHA report includes breakdowns by each local authority across a range of categories. Details in relation to household composition can be found at tables 2.4 and A1.4. It should be noted that the SSHA is a point in time exercise and does not necessarily reflect the dynamic nature of entry to and exit from the list.

  The most recent summary, which was carried out in 2018, details the number of households on all local authority waiting lists as at 11 June 2018 and can be found on my Department's website at the following link.

  Report 2018

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

  My Department is currently working with the Housing Agency on the proposed 2019 summary. I expect the results of that summary to be available early in the final quarter of this year.

Housing Assistance Payment Data

 576. Deputy Brendan Howlin Information on Brendan Howlin Zoom on Brendan Howlin asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government Information on Eoghan Murphy Zoom on Eoghan Murphy the number of persons in receipt of the housing assistance payment in each year since it was introduced by local authority; the annual figure spent for each county; the projected spend in 2019, in tabular form; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [10278/19]

Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government (Deputy Eoghan Murphy): Information on Eoghan Murphy Zoom on Eoghan Murphy The Housing Assistance Payment (HAP) is a flexible and immediate housing support that is available to all eligible households throughout the State. At the end of Quarter 4 2018, there were over 43,000 households having their housing needs met through HAP.  

  HAP is funded through a combination of Exchequer funding and tenant differential rents.  Budget 2019 has increased the Exchequer funding for the HAP scheme to €422 million. This will allow for the continued support of existing HAP households and also enable the additional 16,760 households targeted under Rebuilding Ireland to be supported by HAP in 2019, as well as supporting the roll-out of the Homeless HAP Place Finder Support Service across the country.

  Details on the number of tenancy setups and Exchequer funding for HAP from 2014 to 2018 are set out in the following table:     

Year Additional

Households supported at end of year
Outturn

€m
2014 485 €0.39m
2015 5,680 €15.64m
2016 12,075 €57.69m
2017 17,916 €152.69m
2018 17,926 €276.6m
   

  Limerick City and County Council provides a highly effective HAP transactional shared service on behalf of all local authorities. This HAP Shared Services Centre (SSC) manages all HAP related rental transactions for the tenant, local authority and landlord.  Accordingly, my Department does not recoup individual local authorities in respect of HAP rental payments in their administrative areas but rather recoups all landlord costs via the HAP SSC.

  A breakdown of the number of households supported by HAP in each local authority area is available on my Department’s website at the following link:

  https://www.housing.gov.ie/housing/social-housing/social-and-affordble/overall-social-housing-provision.

Foreshore Issues

 577. Deputy Alan Farrell Information on Alan Farrell Zoom on Alan Farrell asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government Information on Eoghan Murphy Zoom on Eoghan Murphy the number of foreshore licences which have been granted since 2004 under the Foreshore Act 1933; the number of these licences incomplete; the number of foreshore licences within this period which were for public developments; the number for private developers; if the same conditions apply to all foreshore licences granted under the Act; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [10297/19]

Minister of State at the Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government (Deputy Damien English): Information on Damien English Zoom on Damien English The proposals that my Department receive for activities and developments on the foreshore vary greatly in terms of their nature, scale and complexity. The applications received range from the hand harvesting of seaweed to the construction of offshore windfarms or subsea cables. The type of applicants will also vary from private individuals and local groups to public sector bodies, local authorities and companies.   

  The conditions that are included with each consent will vary depending on the type of consent sought rather than on the type of applicant.    

  Details provided in the table include a breakdown of foreshore licences (and leases) by applicant type and by stage of completion.

  Applicant Type Since 2004*

Local Authority, Harbour Authority and Public Sector  304
Companies, Utility Companies and Organisations 307
Individuals 100
  711
Complete or Incomplete since 2004  
Licences and Leases Granted 488
In progress 148
Withdrawn, cancelled, not completed 75
  711
  *Details from 1 January 2004 to 28 February 2019

Local Authority Housing Mortgages

 578. Deputy Declan Breathnach Information on Declan Breathnach Zoom on Declan Breathnach asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government Information on Eoghan Murphy Zoom on Eoghan Murphy if his attention has been drawn to problems being experienced with the Rebuilding Ireland home loan scheme in which, due to a lack of a national database of applicants, multiple applications have been made to different councils by the same persons; if his attention has been further drawn to the fact that this practice is delaying other applications by up to six months due to the fact those multiple applications stay on the system until they expire after six months, thus causing others to lose out; if his attention has been drawn to the fact that up to 50% of the loan offers are duplicated; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [10397/19]

Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government (Deputy Eoghan Murphy): Information on Eoghan Murphy Zoom on Eoghan Murphy In accordance with the Regulations establishing the Rebuilding Ireland Home Loan scheme, the local authorities are the statutory bodies responsible for approving and issuing mortgages under the scheme. Each authority has a credit committee, which is responsible for making the decisions, within its area, regarding loan applications.  Applications for a Rebuilding Ireland Home Loan are not therefore transferable between local authorities. However, applicants are free to apply to any local authority they choose as long as they meet the eligibility criteria for a loan and my Department is aware that in some instances people have made applications to a number of authorities. The Housing Agency, which provides a central assessment service for loan applications on behalf of the local authorities, estimates that this has occurred in 18% of cases. 

My Department undertook a review of the operation of the scheme late last year. Based on data supplied to it as part of that review, the Department has estimated that time frame for applicants receiving a decision from local authorities is in the region of 6 to 8 weeks.

 A letter of loan offer is valid for a period of 6 months from date of issue, subject to the terms and conditions contained therein.

Social and Affordable Housing Data

 579. Deputy Jan O'Sullivan Information on Jan O'Sullivan Zoom on Jan O'Sullivan asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government Information on Eoghan Murphy Zoom on Eoghan Murphy the number of build housing projects that have proceeded to construction in 2016, 2017 and 2018; the number provided by local authorities and approved housing bodies in tabular form; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [10424/19]

Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government (Deputy Eoghan Murphy): Information on Eoghan Murphy Zoom on Eoghan Murphy My Department collects, collates and monitors data relating to the delivery of housing under the Rebuilding Ireland Action Plan 2016-2021 and publishes data on a quarterly basis relating to delivery across the plan's component schemes.

  Each quarter since Rebuilding Ireland commenced in 2016, my Department has published a Social Housing Construction Status Report outlining progress against targets along with a project level status report demonstrating social housing build activity across each local authority area. This is part of our ongoing commitment  to ensure transparency; drive delivery and encourage solution focused discussion to achieve our mutual aim of delivering the maximum possible number of new build social homes. The Construction Status Report provides information on the most recent status of a project as it progresses through the various stages, including a status detailing "site start".

  Data captured is focused, in the main, on the number of homes completed rather than commenced. 

  A breakdown of the number of social houses provided across 2016, 2017 and 2018, by both local authorities and approved housing bodies, including voids and Part V delivery, is set out in the table.

Year LA Build AHB Build Total Build
2016 2,628 337 2,965
2017 3,293 761 4,054
2018 3,423 1,388 4,811
Totals 9,344 2,486 11,830

Rental Accommodation Standards

 580. 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 the number of rental property inspections carried out in each local authority in 2018, in tabular form; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [10432/19]

 581. 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 the funding allocation for 2019 to be provided to local authorities to carry out rental property inspections; the number of rental inspections that will be carried out nationally in 2019; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [10433/19]

Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government (Deputy Eoghan Murphy): Information on Eoghan Murphy Zoom on Eoghan Murphy I propose to take Questions Nos. 580 and 581 together.

The Strategy for the Rental Sector, published in December 2016, set out a series of measures to be introduced to ensure the quality of private rental accommodation by strengthening the applicable standards and improving the inspection and enforcement systems. On 1 July 2017, updated regulatory standards, the Housing (Standards for Rented Houses) Regulations 2017, came into effect. These Regulations focus on tenant safety and include new measures covering heating appliances, carbon monoxide and window safety.  In August 2017, my Department published guidance to assist and support local authorities in implementing the new Regulations.

All landlords have a legal obligation to ensure that their rented properties comply with these regulations and responsibility for the enforcement of the Regulations rests with the relevant local authority.

Between 2005 and 2017, over €36 million has been paid to local authorities to assist them in the performance of their functions under the Housing Acts, including the inspection of rented accommodation. Over 224,000 inspections were carried out during this period.

The Rental Strategy recognises the need for additional resources to be provided to local authorities to aid increased inspections of properties and ensure greater compliance with the Regulations. Provision has been made for €4.5 million of Exchequer funding to be made available to local authorities in 2019 for this purpose, with the intention of providing further increases each year in the period to 2021 to facilitate a targeted inspection coverage of 25% of rental properties annually at that stage. 

Figures in relation to the number of inspections carried out by local authorities in 2018 are currently being collated by my Department and this information will be available on the Department's website by the end of quarter 1 2019.

Housing Data

 582. 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 the number of habitable dwellings demolished in each local authority in each of the years 2015 to 2018; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [10437/19]

Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government (Deputy Eoghan Murphy): Information on Eoghan Murphy Zoom on Eoghan Murphy My Department does not hold data on the number of habitable dwellings demolished in each local authority area.

Vacant Properties Data

 583. 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 the number of vacant properties that have been refurbished and have returned to the housing stock in each Dublin local authority; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [10438/19]

Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government (Deputy Eoghan Murphy): Information on Eoghan Murphy Zoom on Eoghan Murphy Under Section 58 of the Housing Act 1966, the management and maintenance of local authority housing stock, including the implementation of planned maintenance programmes and carrying out of responsive repairs and pre-letting repairs to vacant properties, is a matter for each individual local authority.

  Local authority housing stock becomes vacant and is refurbished and re-let on a continuous basis by the local authorities and my Department does not have information on such re-lets.  My Department does provide some exchequer funding to support local authorities in tackling vacant social housing through the voids programme, particularly homes that would likely remain vacant for a significant period of time because of the scale of the works required.  The programme assists local authorities in actively targeting such vacant properties, to minimise their turnaround and re-let times and return them to use in an energy efficient condition.  

  Information on numbers of vacant properties that were brought back to productive use in the Dublin local authorities is available to my Department solely in relation to those that received Departmental funding under the voids programme. These details in respect of 2018 are as follows:

- SH Units Returned in 2018 under the voids programme
Dublin City 495
Fingal 48
South Dublin 61
Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown  50
Total 654
 

Vacant Properties Data

 584. 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 the average target time for refurbishment of vacant properties in each local authority area; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [10439/19]

Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government (Deputy Eoghan Murphy): Information on Eoghan Murphy Zoom on Eoghan Murphy Vacant properties can be in varying states of disrepair and my Department encourages each local authority to bring these properties back to productive use as quickly as possible.  Statistics in relation to social housing are compiled by the National Oversight and Audit Commission (NOAC) in its annual reports on Performance Indicators in Local Authorities.  These statistics are set out by local authority and include the average time from date of vacancy to the date when a new tenancy commenced, with the most recent report relating to 2017.   This report is available on the NOAC website at the following link:

  http://noac.ie/wp-content/uploads/2018/09/NOAC-Performance-Indicators-Report-2017.pdf.

Vacant Properties Data

 585. 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 the amount each local authority spent on the refurbishment of vacant properties in its areas in 2016, 2017 and 2018; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [10440/19]

Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government (Deputy Eoghan Murphy): Information on Eoghan Murphy Zoom on Eoghan Murphy Under Section 58 of the Housing Act 1966, the management and maintenance of local authority housing stock, including the implementation of planned maintenance programmes and carrying out of responsive repairs and pre-letting repairs to vacant properties, is a matter for each individual local authority.

  Local authority housing stock becomes vacant and is refurbished and re-let on a continuous basis by the local authorities and my Department does not have information on such re-lets or their cost.  My Department does provide some exchequer funding to support local authorities in tackling vacant social housing through the voids programme, particularly homes that would likely remain vacant for a significant period of time because of the scale of the works required.  The programme assists local authorities in actively targeting such vacant properties, to minimise their turnaround and re-let times and return them to use in an energy efficient condition. 

  The following table shows the funding provided by my Department under the voids programme for each local authority for the years 2016 to 2018.

  Funding 2016 Funding 2017 Funding 2018
Carlow €69,450 €91,750 €555,874
Cavan €307,530 €303,112 €270,779
Clare €1,329,700 €966,203 €906,400
Cork City €6,812,333 €1,485,357 €820,190
Cork County €1,270,488 €1,130,977 €4,351,122
Donegal €986,690 €1,866,898 €969,585
Dublin City €8,757,848 €8,520,549 €8,299,452
Fingal €1,725,774 €1,329,300 €589,150
South Dublin €703,736 €718,446 €574,589
Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown  €183,092 €283,531 €436,845
Galway City €346,650 €124,150 €0
Galway County €472,552 €401,159 €763,853
Kerry €917,549 €1,101,143 €1,132,446
Kildare €485,130 €205,960 €639,867
Kilkenny €351,278 €307,749 €212,293
Laois €97,053 €33,170 €97,688
Leitrim €712,404 €0 €387,427
Limerick €384,250 €215,520 €272,177
Longford €506,705 €0 €67,500
Louth €91,523 €83,518 €166,794
Mayo €233,089 €261,986 €204,474
Meath €1,435,700 €769,005 €836,941
Monaghan €667,944 €505,254 €496,283
Offaly €846,198 €107,792 €102,929
Roscommon €808,612 €44,324 €22,600
Sligo €1,097,909 €909,395 €1,650,283
Tipperary €1,204,318 €1,324,604 €771,582
Waterford €1,135,973 €574,309 €0
Westmeath €436,062 €329,113 €207,845
Wexford €167,007 €428,015 €0
Wicklow €245,887 €276,778 €452,145
       
  €34,790,434 €24,699,067 €26,259,113

Housing Assistance Payment Eligibility

 586. Deputy Anne Rabbitte Information on Anne Rabbitte Zoom on Anne Rabbitte asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government Information on Eoghan Murphy Zoom on Eoghan Murphy the basis, under Statutory Instrument No. 84 of 2011, of the decision not to grant HAP in a case (details supplied); the elements within the statutory instrument that apply to this case; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [10444/19]

Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government (Deputy Eoghan Murphy): Information on Eoghan Murphy Zoom on Eoghan Murphy Applications for social housing support are assessed by the relevant local authority, in accordance with the eligibility and need criteria set down in section 20 of the Housing (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 2009 and the associated Social Housing Assessment Regulations 2011, as amended. In order to be eligible for HAP support, a household must first qualify for social housing support and be placed on a housing list. 

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 are 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.

A household may apply for support to one housing authority only (the “housing authority of application”), which may be the authority for the area in which the household normally resides or with which it has a local connection, or where the authority agrees, at its discretion, to assess the household for support.  In determining whether a household has a local connection with its area, a housing authority must have regard to whether a household member:

- lived in the area for a continuous 5 year period at any time in the past,

- is employed in the area or within 15 km of the area,

- is in full-time education, or attending specialist medical care in the area, or

- has a relative (defined in the Regulations) living in the area for 2 years or longer.

As Minister, I am precluded by the Housing (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 2009 from intervening in relation to the decisions made by local authorities in the assessment of individual households, the allocation of particular dwellings and the provision of social housing supports.

Regional Development Initiatives

 587. Deputy Patrick O'Donovan Information on Patrick O'Donovan Zoom on Patrick O'Donovan asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government Information on Eoghan Murphy Zoom on Eoghan Murphy when the south-east regional spatial strategy will be finalised; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [10446/19]

Minister of State at the Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government (Deputy Damien English): Information on Damien English Zoom on Damien English The draft Regional Spatial and Economic Strategy (RSES) for the Southern Region is currently on public display until 8 March 2019. 

  Following the consultation period, the Southern Regional Assembly must report on and consider all submissions received in the formulation of the final RSES, the adoption of which will require approval by the members of the Regional Assembly.

  If the Assembly decides to make changes to the draft RSES that are considered ‘material’, those changes must be subject to environmental related assessments and be put on public display for a further consultation period of not less than four weeks, before being determined.

  The draft RSES for the Southern Region is available on the Southern Regional Assembly's website at the following link: 

  www.southernassembly.ie/regional-planning/public-consultation-on-the-issues-paper-for-the-regional-spatial-and-econom.   

Planning Guidelines

 588. Deputy Darragh O'Brien Information on Darragh O'Brien Zoom on Darragh O'Brien asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government Information on Eoghan Murphy Zoom on Eoghan Murphy the position regarding the working group comprising officials from planning authorities and his Department, which was established to review and revise the 2005 planning guidelines on sustainable rural housing; if the review has concluded; if he has engaged with the European Commission on proposed changes to the guidelines; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [10465/19]

Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government (Deputy Eoghan Murphy): Information on Eoghan Murphy Zoom on Eoghan Murphy Following engagement between the European Commission and my Department regarding the European Court of Justice ruling in the "Flemish Decree" case, a working group was established to review and, where necessary, recommend changes to the 2005 Planning Guidelines on Sustainable Rural Housing, issued under section 28 of the Planning and Development Act 2000, as amended.  The working group comprises senior officials from the Planning Division of my Department and senior officials from the Planning Divisions of local authorities, nominated by the local government sector.   The objective is to ensure that rural housing policies and objectives contained in local authority development plans comply with the relevant provisions of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union. 

Taking account of the engagement with the European Commission on the matter and subject to the completion of the ongoing deliberations by the working group, I will be in a position to finalise and issue to planning authorities revisions to the 2005 Rural Housing Guidelines that take account of the relevant ECJ judgment.

Housing Adaptation Grant Eligibility

 589. Deputy Catherine Martin Information on Catherine Martin Zoom on Catherine Martin asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government Information on Eoghan Murphy Zoom on Eoghan Murphy the reason the period of residence in a house is a criterion for having a stair lift installed by the council as in the case of a person (details supplied); the reason necessity is not the determining factor; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [10476/19]

Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government (Deputy Eoghan Murphy): Information on Eoghan Murphy Zoom on Eoghan Murphy The detailed administration of the Housing Adaptation Grants for Older People and People with a Disability in private houses, including the assessment, approval and prioritisation of grants to applicants under the various measures, is the responsibility of the local authorities.  Applications are prioritised on the basis of the medical needs of the applicant and on the urgency and necessity of the identified works. 

My Department has made enquiries regarding the case in question and I understand that it is currently being reviewed at a higher level within the local authority.  


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