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 Header Item Written Answers Nos. 39-58
 Header Item Covid-19 Pandemic Supports
 Header Item Covid-19 Pandemic Supports
 Header Item Flood Relief Schemes
 Header Item Covid-19 Pandemic Supports
 Header Item Creative Ireland Programme
 Header Item Covid-19 Pandemic
 Header Item Covid-19 Pandemic Supports
 Header Item Covid-19 Pandemic Supports
 Header Item Animal Culls
 Header Item Constitutional Amendments
 Header Item National Monuments
 Header Item Disability Support Services
 Header Item Fire Safety
 Header Item Weather Events
 Header Item Disability Support Services
 Header Item Fire Service

Wednesday, 16 September 2020

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 997 No. 4
Unrevised

First Page Previous Page Page of 82 Next Page Last Page

Written Answers Nos. 39-58

Covid-19 Pandemic Supports

 39. Deputy Ged Nash Information on Ged Nash Zoom on Ged Nash asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform Information on Michael McGrath Zoom on Michael McGrath his plans to extend the Covid-19-related pension abatement waiver for HSE rehires beyond 30 September 2020; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [24216/20]

Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform (Deputy Michael McGrath): Information on Michael McGrath Zoom on Michael McGrath As the Deputy may be aware, the principle of abatement of a public service pension is longstanding within the rules of various public service pension schemes and pension abatement is an important aspect of the Public Service Pensions (Single Scheme and Other Provisions) Act 2012 (the “Single Scheme Act”).   Section 52 (1) of this Act provides for the abatement of a public service pension where a retired public servant, whose pension is in payment, is re-employed in the public service such that no more of the pension when combined with the remuneration in the new job shall exceed the pensionable remuneration of the old job.  

The policy rationale for this provision is to avoid a situation where individuals benefit from both a valuable public service pension and also a public service salary. Abatement represents a suitable and measured response to legitimate public concerns in this context.

Section 52(4) of the Single Scheme Act provides for a waiver of abatement, in exceptional circumstances where the position requires a person with particular training and experience  and where that position cannot be filled other than by the employment of the pensioner.

The exceptional nature of the Covid-19 crisis has required some sectors, including the health sector in particular, to source staff at short notice to address the manpower challenges on the frontline in this crisis.  Temporary waivers of pension abatement have been sought and provided under the legislation in order to facilitate these efforts.  Retired staff have assisted with the filling of critical staffing gaps and increased service demands associated with the challenges caused by the virus. The duration of the current waiver for the health sector in this regard, as the Deputy points out, is valid until the end of September.   

An application for any proposed extension of a Covid abatement waiver must be made to this Department accompanied by a business case. Such an application would be a matter for the relevant responsible Department in the first instance.  My Department will examine cases made taking account of the particular circumstances on the one hand but also the need to uphold the intent and requirements of the legislation as well as the underlying policy on the other.

Covid-19 Pandemic Supports

 40. Deputy Mairéad Farrell Information on Mairéad  Farrell Zoom on Mairéad  Farrell asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform Information on Michael McGrath Zoom on Michael McGrath if he will address a matter (details supplied) regarding a difference in spending figures between the July Stimulus plan and the Budget 2020 economic and fiscal outlook [24274/20]

Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform (Deputy Michael McGrath): Information on Michael McGrath Zoom on Michael McGrath The €1 billion increase refers to the increase in Exchequer capital spend between the sum budgeted for 2020 and the sum budgeted for 2021, which the Deputy will see in Appendix 7 of the 2020 REV.   

  Gross Fixed Capital Formation (GFCF) is a technical statistical classification, which may differ in detail from the Exchequer figures. For example, Exchequer spend on certain schemes such as capital grants to assist farmers or assistance to householders installing home insulation will not be included as public GFCF.

Flood Relief Schemes

 41. Deputy Colm Burke Information on Colm Burke Zoom on Colm Burke asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform Information on Michael McGrath Zoom on Michael McGrath if funding will be made available for the Blackpool flood relief scheme in view of the fact that the work required is outstanding for a number of years; and if he will make a statement on the matter.  [24372/20]

Minister of State at the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform (Deputy Patrick O'Donovan): Information on Patrick O'Donovan Zoom on Patrick O'Donovan The Blackpool Flood Relief Scheme commenced in 2013 when the Office of Public Works, in conjunction with Cork City Council, appointed consultants to develop proposals to deal with the flood risk that existed in Cork City. The scheme was originally part of the Lower Lee Flood Relief Scheme.  As it became clear, however, that a solution could be advanced for Blackpool ahead of the Lower Lee, a separate scheme was developed for Blackpool. Following extensive engineering and environmental analysis, public consultation, and a formal Public Exhibition, the proposed scheme was submitted to the Department for Public Expenditure and Reform for Ministerial Confirmation.  

  The Scheme is currently undergoing assessment by the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform as part of the Confirmation process under the Arterial Drainage Acts.  Further information has been requested by the Minister as part of the environmental impact assessment which he is carrying out on the scheme.  This information is currently being prepared and is expected to be provided to the Minister in the next few weeks.  

  The estimated Total Project Cost of the scheme is €20.5m, based on current design, but is subject to change following the completion of the detailed design and tender process. Once the scheme is Confirmed, the detailed design will be completed and a tender competition held to appoint a works contractor.  It is currently anticipated that construction will commence on the scheme by mid 2021.

Covid-19 Pandemic Supports

 42. Deputy Brendan Griffin Information on Brendan Griffin Zoom on Brendan Griffin asked the Minister for Media, Tourism, Arts, Culture, Sport and the Gaeltacht Information on Catherine Martin Zoom on Catherine Martin if the restart plus grant will be extended to bed and breakfast operators that have deferred their opening until 2021; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [24218/20]

Minister for Media, Tourism, Arts, Culture, Sport and the Gaeltacht (Deputy Catherine Martin): Information on Catherine Martin Zoom on Catherine Martin The Restart Grant Plus for B&Bs was launched on Monday 14th September 2020. This Scheme was announced as part of the Government’s July Jobs Stimulus package and Fáilte Ireland is administering the Scheme on behalf of the Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation.

  As the operation and administration of the Restart Grant Plus specifically for B&Bs is a matter for Fáilte Ireland, I have referred the Deputy's question to them for direct reply. Please advise my private office if you do not receive a reply within ten working days.

A referred reply was forwarded to the Deputy under Standing Order 51

Creative Ireland Programme

 43. Deputy Carol Nolan Information on Carol Nolan Zoom on Carol Nolan asked the Minister for Media, Tourism, Arts, Culture, Sport and the Gaeltacht Information on Catherine Martin Zoom on Catherine Martin the budget allocation for the Creative Ireland programme in 2019 and 2020, in tabular form; and if she will make a statement on the matter.  [24237/20]

Minister for Media, Tourism, Arts, Culture, Sport and the Gaeltacht (Deputy Catherine Martin): Information on Catherine Martin Zoom on Catherine Martin The Creative Ireland Programme is a culture-based, all-of-Government initiative led by my Department that is designed to promote individual, community and national wellbeing.  Its core proposition is that participation in cultural activity by everyone drives personal and collective creativity, with significant implications for individual and societal wellbeing and achievement.

  The current annual budget allocations to the Creative Ireland Programme for 2019 and 2020 are set out below. These allocations support a vast array of initiatives, projects, activities and events delivered right throughout the country by a wide network of Creative Ireland partners.

  Creative Ireland Programme funding provides significant opportunities for people of all ages, from all backgrounds and in every area of the country, to participate in, enjoy and benefit from creative activities and pursuits – covering all genres, disciplines and artforms – within their local communities, their schools, or their own homes.

- 2019 2020
Budget/REV allocations 7,150,000 6,150,000
Direct allocation to Arts Council (for Creative Schools) - 1,000,000
COVID-19 Supports - 2,933,000


  As set out above, extra allocations have been made to Creative Ireland Programme initiatives as part of the additional supports provided by my Department to the wider culture sector as a direct response to the COVID-19 crisis. These include €0.5 million to support new initiatives in relation to positive ageing and creative wellbeing, as well as €2.433 million in supports to projects and initiatives under both the Creative Communities and Creative Youth pillars as part of the Government’s July Stimulus package.

  In addition to the allocations made by my Department, other Departments also contribute to the costs of ongoing Creative Ireland Programme initiatives. These include inter alia an annual €1 million contribution by my Cabinet colleague the Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage to support activities by local authorities under the Creative Communities pillar; over €3 million in annual support to Creative Youth initiatives by my Cabinet colleague the Minister for Education and Skills, and additional resources provided by the Arts Council to support the Creative Schools programme.

Covid-19 Pandemic

 44. Deputy Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire Information on Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire Zoom on Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire asked the Minister for Media, Tourism, Arts, Culture, Sport and the Gaeltacht Information on Catherine Martin Zoom on Catherine Martin if a limited number of spectators will be allowed at sporting events in line with local evaluation of the number who can be safely allowed to attend including for games involving children and young persons. [24257/20]

Minister for Media, Tourism, Arts, Culture, Sport and the Gaeltacht (Deputy Catherine Martin): Information on Catherine Martin Zoom on Catherine Martin The Government’s Resilience and Recovery 20-21: Plan for Living with Covid-19 , published yesterday permits attendance, at the current Level 2 of the Plan, by up to 100 spectators at outdoor sporting events and 50 spectators at indoor sporting events. Up to 200 spectators are allowed for outdoor stadia or other fixed outdoor venues with a minimum accredited capacity of 5,000.

In line with the Plan, specific guidance will be developed in relation to the number of spectators that will be permitted to attend sporting events in very large purpose built venues, taking account of the size and different conditions for larger events. The Expert Group on Return to Sport will develop proposals in this regard.

Covid-19 Pandemic Supports

 45. Deputy Eoghan Murphy Information on Eoghan Murphy Zoom on Eoghan Murphy asked the Minister for Media, Tourism, Arts, Culture, Sport and the Gaeltacht Information on Catherine Martin Zoom on Catherine Martin if she will bring forward the distribution of funding for swimming pools announced as part of the July Stimulus Package to avoid permanent closure of distressed pools (details supplied). [24358/20]

Minister for Media, Tourism, Arts, Culture, Sport and the Gaeltacht (Deputy Catherine Martin): Information on Catherine Martin Zoom on Catherine Martin As part of the July Jobs Stimulus, I announced a special fund of €2.5 million to support the reopening of publicly accessible swimming pools in recognition of the particular challenges pool operators face in reopening to the public. This funding will be administered by Sport Ireland. A grant scheme is currently being drafted. Full details of the scheme and the application process will be announced shortly.

Covid-19 Pandemic Supports

 46. Deputy Eoghan Murphy Information on Eoghan Murphy Zoom on Eoghan Murphy asked the Minister for Media, Tourism, Arts, Culture, Sport and the Gaeltacht Information on Catherine Martin Zoom on Catherine Martin if she will consider seeking community suggestions and providing grants for cultural and social events that are not screen based in order to avoid the dangers of excessive screen time and encourage outdoor activities during the winter. [24359/20]

Minister for Media, Tourism, Arts, Culture, Sport and the Gaeltacht (Deputy Catherine Martin): Information on Catherine Martin Zoom on Catherine Martin The Government has published the Roadmap for Resilience and Recovery. This new Roadmap sets out clearly the balance between public health, economic and social aspects of living with COVID-19 will operate in the short to medium term.  It will to bring greater certainty so that society and business can move forward.

  The current Level 2 of the Roadmap is based on a medium-term approach to managing risk and repairing the damage that COVID-19 has inflicted on society. At all times the priority will be to keep our schools open, while keeping people safe and protecting the resilience of our economy and communities.

  There is new guidance for  indoor and outdoor sports  and training  together with cultural events in theatres and other arts events.  There is also a new focus on wellbeing.  The new Roadmap is available at this link https://www.gov.ie/en/publication/18e18-level-2/.

  In addition, the Government Plan for Living with COVID-19,  Resilience and Recovery 2020-2021, published yesterday, includes provisions in respect of community wellbeing  that recognises safe engagement in and watching of our favourite sports and cultural activities, both personal and collective, plays a vital role in protecting our mental health and  well-being. The Plan seeks to facilitate and preserve the significant cultural and sporting landmarks in Irish life, both at local and national level and commits to putting communities and counties at the centre of solutions for their own areas in terms of recovery. In that context, a refreshed Government Wellbeing/Together/Resilience campaign will be developed including a local campaign element delivered by local authorities to promote awareness of and participation in local programmes, initiatives and amenities.

Animal Culls

 47. Deputy Jennifer Murnane O'Connor Information on Jennifer Murnane O'Connor Zoom on Jennifer Murnane O'Connor asked the Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage Information on Darragh O'Brien Zoom on Darragh O'Brien if his attention has been drawn to the fact that there is considerable concern among licensed deer hunters and expert groups such as an organisation (details supplied) over the delay in issuing permits under section 29 of the Wildlife Acts for the 2020/2021 open season for deer (details supplied); the number of applications processed to date; the number outstanding; the expected timeline to process the applications; his plans to address the delays caused by Covid-19; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [24250/20]

 48. Deputy Jennifer Murnane O'Connor Information on Jennifer Murnane O'Connor Zoom on Jennifer Murnane O'Connor asked the Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage Information on Darragh O'Brien Zoom on Darragh O'Brien if his attention has been drawn to the fact that expert groups such as an organisation (details supplied) have made recommendations to address the backlog under section 29 of the Wildlife Acts for the 2020/2021 open season for deer in line with other Departments such as the Department of Transport extension of NCT certificates and driver licences; if his attention has been further drawn to a detailed recommendation which was made in December 2015 regarding the implementation of an online licensing system by the Irish Deer Management Forum to streamline and bring Ireland into line with other countries regarding the issuing of wildlife licensing permits; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [24251/20]

 49. Deputy Jennifer Murnane O'Connor Information on Jennifer Murnane O'Connor Zoom on Jennifer Murnane O'Connor asked the Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage Information on Darragh O'Brien Zoom on Darragh O'Brien when he will meet an organisation (details supplied) to discuss the issues relating to the delays and proposed solutions to avoid future delays; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [24252/20]

Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage (Deputy Darragh O'Brien): Information on Darragh O'Brien Zoom on Darragh O'Brien I propose to take Questions Nos. 47 to 49, inclusive, together.

I am aware of some delays in my Department this year in processing deer hunting licence applications and I am aware that many deer hunters have not received their licences yet this year.   

The delays arise as a result of the ongoing Covid-19 public health emergency and the effects this has had on travel and working arrangements.  While staff in the unit that deals with the issuing of licences continued  to attend the office during the crisis, given restrictions, the numbers of such staff attending was, of course, restricted .  The database system used for managing deer licensing is not currently a web based one and some technical challenges arose in facilitating the processing of such licences for staff working remotely with laptops.   

Several thousand licences applications have been received to date and over two thousand have been issued thus far.  Staff are working flat out to eliminate the backlog as quickly as possible.   

I am aware that it has been suggested by individuals, hunting and farming bodies that I would extend licences for the previous deer hunting season to allow hunters with such a licence to hunt after 1 September with their previous licences.  However, the provisions in the Wildlife Acts do not allow for the extension of deer hunting licences and licences for last season automatically expired under the law on 31 July this year.  

The priority of staff now is to have licences issued as quickly as possible.  It is my Department’s intention to review the legislative and administrative arrangements in relation to deer licensing with a view to securing improvements for customers and I will welcome the views of stakeholders in this regard.  The main priority for now is to deal with the backlog on hand.  In addition, it is the intention to work towards the introduction of an on-line application system and some early work in this regard has taken place and I will work to see that this happens as quickly as possible. 

Constitutional Amendments

 50. Deputy John Lahart Information on John Lahart Zoom on John Lahart asked the Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage Information on Darragh O'Brien Zoom on Darragh O'Brien the plans and timelines he in mind with regard to the holding of a referendum on the public ownership of water. [24204/20]

Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage (Deputy Darragh O'Brien): Information on Darragh O'Brien Zoom on Darragh O'Brien The Programme for Government provides that the Government will refer the issue of the environment, including water, and its place in the Constitution, to a relevant Joint Oireachtas Committee for consideration.  I and my Department look forward to engaging with the relevant Committee when work proceeds on this issue. 

National Monuments

 51. Deputy Aengus Ó Snodaigh Information on Aengus Ó Snodaigh Zoom on Aengus Ó Snodaigh asked the Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage Information on Darragh O'Brien Zoom on Darragh O'Brien the steps he will take to intervene and protect the national monument at 40 Herbert Park by preservation order as a monument, the preservation of which is a matter of national importance now threatened with demolition. [24225/20]

 54. Deputy Eoin Ó Broin Information on Eoin Ó Broin Zoom on Eoin Ó Broin asked the Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage Information on Darragh O'Brien Zoom on Darragh O'Brien if he will consider classifying 40 Herbert Park, the home of 1916 veteran Michael Joseph O'Rahilly known as The O'Rahilly, as a national monument. [24275/20]

Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage (Deputy Darragh O'Brien): Information on Darragh O'Brien Zoom on Darragh O'Brien I propose to take Questions Nos. 51 and 54 together.

Part IV of the Planning and Development Act 2000, as amended, gives primary responsibility to local authorities to identify and protect the architectural heritage by including particular structures on the Record of Protected Structures (RPS). Inclusion on the RPS places a duty of care on the owners and occupiers of protected structures and also gives planning authorities powers to deal with any development proposals affecting them. I understand that the building in question is not included on the Dublin City Council’s current RPS.

As Minister, I may also make recommendations to local authorities for buildings and structures to be included on the RPS. These recommendations arise from the surveys of my Department's National Inventory of Architectural Heritage (NIAH). However, the area in which the building is question is located has not yet been surveyed by the NIAH.

There is no mechanism per se under the National Monuments Acts for classifying a structure as a national monument. The Minister may place a Preservation Order on a building or structure in certain circumstances where, in the opinion of the Minister, it is a national monument ‘by reason of the historical, architectural, traditional, artistic or archaeological interest attaching thereto.’ In this case, the building itself forms part of a site in respect of which a Strategic Housing Development application was submitted to An Bord Pleanála for approval earlier this year and in respect of which my Department provided its observations as a statutory consultee under the Planning and Development Acts. I understand that the Bord has now made a determination on that application.

Disability Support Services

 52. Deputy Imelda Munster Information on Imelda Munster Zoom on Imelda Munster asked the Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage Information on Darragh O'Brien Zoom on Darragh O'Brien if the DPG scheme is a separate funding stream to the housing adaptation grant funding; the way in which the criteria for the two grants differ; if he will clarify what is covered by the DPG grant and the application criteria for the grant; the amount of funding local authorities can apply for under the DPG funding stream; and when Louth County Council last applied for funding under the scheme. [24232/20]

 56. Deputy Imelda Munster Information on Imelda Munster Zoom on Imelda Munster asked the Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage Information on Darragh O'Brien Zoom on Darragh O'Brien if the funding for disabled person's grants has been amalgamated with housing adaptation grants. [24285/20]

Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage (Deputy Darragh O'Brien): Information on Darragh O'Brien Zoom on Darragh O'Brien I propose to take Questions Nos. 52 and 56 together.

  My Department provides funding every year for the Disabled Persons Grant (DPG) scheme and the Housing Adaptations Grant for Older People and People with a Disability scheme. While both schemes are administered directly by the local authorities they operate independently with separate funding streams,  the main differences being the type of properties eligible for funding and the level of local authority contribution. DPG funding is provided for adaptations and extensions to existing social housing stock to meet specific needs of the local authority tenants with a 10% contribution required from the local authority, while the Housing Adaptation Grants address specific needs of older people and people with a disability in privately owned homes with a 20% contribution required from the local authority.

  Both schemes involve works that are necessary to address the needs of older people or people with a disability.  This may involve adaptations, such as stair lifts, grabs rails, accessible showers, wet-rooms, ramps, etc., but can also provide funding for more significant adaptations such as extensions, for example in the case of overcrowding, or the installation of a downstairs bedroom or bathroom. 

  In the case of the DPG scheme, it is a matter for individual local authorities to work within their annual funding allocation, assess individual applications and prioritise the works required under the scheme within available funding.  The  Housing Adaptation Grants for Older People and People with a Disability scheme provides grant funding to eligible applicants in private houses to make their accommodation more suitable for their needs.  These grants include the Housing Adaptation Grant for People with a Disability, the Mobility Aids Grant and the Housing Aid for Older People Grant, which are 80% funded by the Department, with a 20% contribution from the resources of the local authority.  The Scheme is more sharply focused towards lower income households with the greatest needs.  A means test applies to the Scheme in order to achieve fairness and value for money in its operation.

  In 2020 and in line with previous years under the DPG scheme, local authorities including Louth County Council were asked to submit details of its work proposals and related funding requirements for the year.  Following an assessment of the local authority returns, I recently announced the 2020 funding allocations and some €18m is being made available this year, an increase of 19% on 2019 levels.  Details of the funding allocations, which includes funding towards the Improvement Works In Lieu Scheme (IWILs) for some local authorities, are available at the following link:

  https://rebuildingireland.ie/news/minister-obrien-approves-some-e18-million-in-funding-

  for-the-disabled-persons-grant-scheme-and-the-improvement-works-in-lieu-of-local-authority-housing-scheme/.

  My Department provides 90% funding towards the cost of eligible DPG works per property with the remaining 10% being provided by the local authorities. The local authority can carry out works up to a maximum level of €75,000 per property without the prior approval of the Department; requests for funding in excess of this can be submitted to the Department for consideration on a case by case basis. In 2020, Louth County Council has been allocated €367,408 under the DPG scheme and along with the Council's 10% contribution, means funding of €408,231 this year. Separately in 2020, they have received an additional €83,902 for accrued commitments from 2019.

Fire Safety

 53. Deputy Mark Ward Information on Mark Ward Zoom on Mark Ward asked the Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage Information on Darragh O'Brien Zoom on Darragh O'Brien the number of call-outs from the fire brigade in relation to the illegal use of fireworks in each of the past five years by area in tabular form; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [24247/20]

Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage (Deputy Darragh O'Brien): Information on Darragh O'Brien Zoom on Darragh O'Brien The provision of a fire service in its functional area, including the establishment and maintenance of a fire brigade, the assessment of fire cover needs and the provision of fire station premises, is a statutory function of fire authorities under the Fire Services Act, 1981.  My Department supports fire authorities through setting general policy, providing a central training programme, issuing guidance on operational and other fire safety related matters and providing capital funding support for purchase of equipment and priority infrastructural projects.

  My Department collects statistics from local authorities, on an annual basis, regarding fire service attendance at incidents and the types of incident involved. Fire statistics for the past five years are available at the link below:

  https://www.housing.gov.ie/local-government/fire-and-emergency-management/fire-statistics.

  My Department does not routinely collect data in regard to the number of call-outs from the fire brigade in relation to the illegal use of fireworks. However, it is my understanding is that such information is not readily available as 'fireworks' is currently not listed as an individual and identifiable  category of call-out by the fire services.

  Question No. 54 answered with Question No. 51.

Weather Events

 55. Deputy Catherine Connolly Information on Catherine Connolly Zoom on Catherine Connolly asked the Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage Information on Darragh O'Brien Zoom on Darragh O'Brien the details of the weather warning issued to Galway County Council in relation to the severe rainfall in the Connemara area on 1 and 2 September 2020; the time the weather warning was issued and to whom; the status of the weather warning; the analysis undertaken to establish the reason for the flooding, in particular the impact of the conversion of upstream land from bog to sitka spruce plantations; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [24280/20]

Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage (Deputy Darragh O'Brien): Information on Darragh O'Brien Zoom on Darragh O'Brien Met Éireann is the National Meteorological Service of Ireland and one of its most important roles is to issue weather forecasts and warnings for Ireland. The Public Weather Service provided by Met Éireann prioritises the protection of life and ensuring citizen safety. The service also supports the activities of the citizen and other agencies to mitigate damage to property and reduce disturbance to economic activity and so enhance support for impact-based decision making for weather events.

Met Éireann’s main suite of warnings are issued by the duty forecaster between 10am and midday and are updated as necessary as new information becomes available. In general, warnings will not be issued more than 60-hours ahead of the expected adverse weather but advisories on potential hazards are issued up to a week in advance.

The weather forecast for Tuesday night (1 September) and daytime Wednesday (2 September) was for spells of heavy rain and spot flooding.

A Status Yellow Rainfall warning was in operation for daytime Wednesday 5am to 5pm for the northwest (issued 4pm Tuesday, 1st). This yellow rainfall warning was extended to Connacht, Donegal, Cavan and Monaghan on Wednesday morning valid from 10am to 9pm Wednesday (issued 9am Wednesday, 2nd).

While the general forecast was for heavy rain and a risk of spot flooding the rain was much heavier than forecast, further south than forecast and also occurred earlier than forecast. The heavy rain was expected to be in the northwest during Wednesday with the cold front whereas it was in the west with the warm front on Tuesday night.

Intense rainfall in west Galway resulted in the Owenglin River breaking its banks and flooding 17 houses. Rainfall totals of 70mm in a 24hr period were recorded at Connemara national park (CAMP station). The flood was short lived. 

A number of local factors may have contributed to the magnitude of the event including that the river is very flashy and responds quickly to heavy rain, and the backup of water at a small bridge in the town. 

There was a wet end to August, with soils being in a saturated state. This would result in rainfall running directly to the river. 

It is noted that this catchment area does not have any Office of Public Works (OPW) river gauges which could be used to monitor river levels.  As part of the development of the National Flood Forecasting and Warning Service, Met Éireann is engaged in a program of fluvial model development, trials of which are expected to begin in Q3 2021. The Owenglin is included in this phase of development. 

Any analysis to establish the reason for the flooding or the impact on the conversion of land use is a matter for the OPW who lead and co-ordinate the implementation of Ireland's National Flood Risk Policy.

  Question No. 56 answered with Question No. 52.

Disability Support Services

 57. Deputy Imelda Munster Information on Imelda Munster Zoom on Imelda Munster asked the Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage Information on Darragh O'Brien Zoom on Darragh O'Brien the allocation by each local authority for housing adaptation grant for people with a disability in each of the years 2013 to 2020; and the amount each local authority drew down in each year from the allocation for the purposes of the grant. [24286/20]

Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage (Deputy Darragh O'Brien): Information on Darragh O'Brien Zoom on Darragh O'Brien My Department provides funding under the suite of Housing Adaptation Grants for Older People and People with a Disability, to assist people in private houses to make their accommodation more suitable for their needs.  The grants include the Housing Adaptation Grant for People with a Disability, the Mobility Aids Grant and the Housing Aid for Older People, which are 80% funded by my Department, with a 20% contribution from the resources of the local authority.  Local authorities receive an overall allocation, with the responsibility for the apportionment between the three schemes being a matter for each authority.

  Details of the grants, up to 2018, are available on my Department's website at the following link: 

  https://www.housing.gov.ie/housing/statistics/social-and-affordble/other-local-authority-housing-scheme-statistics

  The Table below contains details of the exchequer funding drawn down by local authorities for the grants up to 31 December 2019, and up to 31 August 2020, with each local authority providing an additional 20% own contribution.

Local Authority  Exchequer Drawdown to 31 December 2019 Exchequer Drawdown to 31 August 2020
Carlow  €1,337,450 €620,961
Cavan  €992,380 €262,905
Clare  €2,399,552 €666,346
Cork  €4,323,799 €1,048,229
Cork City  €981,908 €401,352
Donegal  €1,333,144 €675,797
Dublin City  €7,395,113 €2,856,850
Dun Laoghaire/Rathdown  €1,159,572 €480,671
Fingal  €2,043,228 €548,857
Galway €1,695,312 €793,170
Galway City  €807,777 €470,129
Kerry  €2,549,136 €1,204,780
Kildare  €2,497,750 €409,619
Kilkenny  €1,526,314 €794,593
Laois  €820,976 €95,216
Leitrim  €154,738 €103,544
Limerick  €2,659,000 €948,601
Longford  €575,984 €221,914
Louth €1,176,836 €420,404
Mayo  €1,853,661 €656,455
Meath  €2,000,215 €621,951
Monaghan  €1,451,430 €1,116,572
Offaly  €1,294,412 €44,088
Roscommon  €1,075,381 €233,358
Sligo  €1,162,243 €152,557
South Dublin  €1,785,306 €1,039,668
Tipperary €2,944,856 €1,322,831
Waterford  €1,220,152 €454,325
Westmeath  €1,043,669 €291,435
Wexford  €1,896,870 €835,987
Wicklow  €1,108,370 €403,652


  For 2020, a total of €73.75 million has been provided for the grants, details of which can be found at the following link:

  https://www.gov.ie/en/press-release/0c0cf-minister-obrien-announces-over-73-million-for-housing-adaptation-grant/.

Fire Service

 58. Deputy Neasa Hourigan Information on Neasa Hourigan Zoom on Neasa Hourigan asked the Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage Information on Darragh O'Brien Zoom on Darragh O'Brien if membership of the retained fire service is a breach of the Civil Service Code of Standards and Behaviour. [24299/20]

Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage (Deputy Darragh O'Brien): Information on Darragh O'Brien Zoom on Darragh O'Brien The provision of a fire service in its functional area, including the establishment and maintenance of a fire brigade, the assessment of fire cover needs and the provision of fire station premises, is a statutory function of fire authorities under the Fire Services Act, 1981.  My Department supports fire authorities through setting general policy, providing a central training programme, issuing guidance on operational and other fire safety related matters and providing capital funding support for purchase of equipment and priority infrastructural projects.

The Civil Service Code of Standards and Behaviour is an important element of the overall framework within which all civil servants are expected to work. It sets out the standards required of civil servants in the discharge of their duties. These standards of behaviour and values will support a high quality public service, based on high levels of personal performance and responsibility. The Code falls under the remit of the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform.

The Code forms part of the terms of employment of all civil servants who are expected to apply it at all times. A copy must be given to every staff member on entry to the Civil Service and they will be required to certify in writing that they have received and read it. The Code is circulated to all existing staff who will be required to sign a similar declaration.  

In regard to possible breaches of the Code it is a matter in the first instance to be discussed and where possible resolved between the employee and their employer. When this cannot be achieved my understanding is that the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform can where appropriate, assist and advise the relevant parties.


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