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 Header Item Written Answers Nos. 261-281
 Header Item Ministerial Meetings
 Header Item Sports Funding
 Header Item Water Services
 Header Item Defective Building Materials
 Header Item Defective Building Materials
 Header Item Direct Provision System
 Header Item Housing Schemes
 Header Item Defective Building Materials
 Header Item Real Estate Investment Trusts
 Header Item Local Authorities
 Header Item Housing Schemes
 Header Item Rental Sector
 Header Item Regional Development
 Header Item Housing Schemes
 Header Item Foreign Policy
 Header Item Citizenship Applications
 Header Item EU Programmes

Thursday, 3 June 2021

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 1008 No. 3
Unrevised

First Page Previous Page Page of 91 Next Page Last Page

Written Answers Nos. 261-281

Ministerial Meetings

 261. Deputy Louise O'Reilly Information on Louise O'Reilly Zoom on Louise O'Reilly asked the Minister for Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media Information on Catherine Martin Zoom on Catherine Martin the number of meetings she has had with RTÉ over the course of 2020 and to date in 2021. [30395/21]

Minister for Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media (Deputy Catherine Martin): Information on Catherine Martin Zoom on Catherine Martin Since my appointment as the first Minister for Media, I have met with a wide range of relevant organisations and representative bodies in the sector, including the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland, RTÉ, TG4, Virgin Media, Sky Ireland, Communicorp Media, Local Ireland, CRAOL, the representative group for Community Radio and the IBI, and the Independent Broadcasters of Ireland, the representative group for Commercial Radio.

These  meetings have focused on hearing about the priorities and operations of the media outlets and the key challenges and issues of concern facing them both as a result of COVID-19 restrictions and in the longer term. 

I have also encouraged all stakeholders to engage with the Future of Media Commission which is tasked with examining the entire media sector and making recommendations on future direction and a sustainable funding model for the next decade.  The Commission will report at the end of July and I look forward to receiving their recommendations on this important area.

I have met RTÉ on three occasions over the period in question, in July and October 2020 and February 2021.

Sports Funding

 262. Deputy Brendan Smith Information on Brendan Smith Zoom on Brendan Smith asked the Minister for Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media Information on Catherine Martin Zoom on Catherine Martin the timeline for the processing and finalisation of the 2021 sports capital grant applications; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [30402/21]

Minister of State at the Department of Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media (Deputy Jack Chambers): Information on Jack Chambers Zoom on Jack Chambers The Sports Capital and Equipment Programme (SCEP) is the primary vehicle for Government support for the development of sports and physical recreation facilities and the purchase of non-personal sports equipment throughout the country.

The 2020 round of the SCEP closed for applications on Monday 1st March, 2021. By the closing date, 3,106 applications were submitted seeking over €200m in funding. This is the highest number of applications ever received.

The scoring system and assessment manual for the 2020 round has now been finalised and is available at www.sportscapitalprogramme.ie . Given the record number of applications and the detailed information contained in each application, the assessment process will take a number of months to complete. It is envisaged that allocations for applications for sports equipment- only will be made first during the Summer with allocations to other capital projects announced before the end of the year. At least €40 million is being made available for allocation and local and regional allocations will be announced at the same time. As soon as this process is complete all applicants will be informed of the outcome of the assessment of their application.

Water Services

 263. Deputy Fergus O'Dowd Information on Fergus O'Dowd Zoom on Fergus O'Dowd asked the Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage Information on Darragh O'Brien Zoom on Darragh O'Brien if a response and advice will issue in relation to concerns raised in correspondence by a person (details supplied) regarding access to grants for a septic tank; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [30280/21]

Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage (Deputy Darragh O'Brien): Information on Darragh O'Brien Zoom on Darragh O'Brien My Department provides financial support to eligible homeowners towards the remediation, repair, or upgrading works to, or replacement of, domestic waste water treatment systems where an Advisory Notice has issued on foot of an inspection under the EPA’s National Inspection Plan. 

  Additionally, to support the attainment of water quality objectives in “prioritised areas for action and “high status objective catchment areas” as identified in the River Basin Management Plan for Ireland 2018-2021, financial support is also available to eligible homeowners towards the remediation, repair, or upgrading works to, or replacement of, domestic waste water treatment systems.

  These grant schemes are administered by local authorities on behalf of my Department, however, these schemes are not universal and there are certain terms and conditions regarding eligibility under each scheme. Prospective applicants should contact the rural water section in their local authority for application forms and further information.

  Comprehensive details of the grants and other relevant information are available on my Departments website at the link under:

  www.gov.ie/en/publication/6cc1e-domestic-waste-water-treatment-systems-septic-tanks/.

  It should also be noted, that under the Water Services Acts 2007 and 2012 (Domestic Waste Water Treatment Systems) Regulations 2012, the owner of a domestic waste water treatment system is responsible for its maintenance and renewal and shall ensure that its parts and components are fit for purpose, operational where appropriate and kept in good order and repair so as to prevent a risk to human health or environment. 

Supporting Document re Septic Tank

Defective Building Materials

 264. Deputy Peadar Tóibín Information on Peadar Tóibín Zoom on Peadar Tóibín asked the Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage Information on Darragh O'Brien Zoom on Darragh O'Brien the reason Donegal County Council is rejecting the recommendations of the structural engineer professionals and laboratory scientists on MICA despite spending roughly €6,000 to engage their expertise. [30283/21]

Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage (Deputy Darragh O'Brien): Information on Darragh O'Brien Zoom on Darragh O'Brien The local authority has responsibility for the detailed administration of the Defective Concrete Blocks Grant scheme. This includes the assessment of applications for eligibility and payment of grants to successful applicants under the specific remediation option approved.

While an engineer's report informs a local authority's consideration and assessment of a grant application, the final decision on eligibilty for the scheme and the level of funding approved rests with the local authority.

Defective Building Materials

 265. Deputy Peadar Tóibín Information on Peadar Tóibín Zoom on Peadar Tóibín asked the Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage Information on Darragh O'Brien Zoom on Darragh O'Brien the number of times he met with persons or representatives of persons whose properties have been affected by the MICA issue in County Donegal since he assumed office. [30284/21]

Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage (Deputy Darragh O'Brien): Information on Darragh O'Brien Zoom on Darragh O'Brien I met with persons and representatives of persons, whose properties have been affected by the use of defective concrete blocks in County Donegal, on three occasions. The first was at the launch of the Defective Concrete Blocks Grant scheme, which took place in Buncrana on 6 August 2020. The second meeting was held virtually on 4 February 2021. The third meeting was also held virtually on 20 May 2021.

Direct Provision System

 266. Deputy Carol Nolan Information on Carol Nolan Zoom on Carol Nolan asked the Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage Information on Darragh O'Brien Zoom on Darragh O'Brien the status of the inter-Departmental work engaged in by his Department with the Department of Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth with respect to the delivery of accommodation for those in direct provision in addition to the other accommodation commitments provided for in the White Paper on Ending Direct Provision; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [30305/21]

Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage (Deputy Darragh O'Brien): Information on Darragh O'Brien Zoom on Darragh O'Brien The Department of Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth (D/CEDIY) recently published a White Paper on International Protection.

  Policy in this area and the management of the work programme is a matter for that Department. The authorities and agencies under my Department's remit will support D/CEDIY as appropriate in implementation of the provisions of the White Paper.

Housing Schemes

 267. Deputy Brendan Griffin Information on Brendan Griffin Zoom on Brendan Griffin asked the Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage Information on Darragh O'Brien Zoom on Darragh O'Brien if grants are available for renovating out-houses and sheds (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [30309/21]

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 to local authorities in respect of the Housing Adaptation Grants for Older People and People with a Disability, to assist eligible people in private houses to make their accommodation more suitable for their needs.  The suite of grants include the Housing Adaptation Grant for People with a Disability (max grant €30,000), the Mobility Aids Grant (max grant €6,000) and the Housing Aid for Older People (max grant €8,000). A means test applies to each grant scheme. 

My Department also provides funding to Donegal and Mayo local authorities in respect of homes impacted by pyrite and mica under the Defective Concrete Blocks Grant Scheme.

The detailed administration of these schemes is the responsibility of the local authorities.  

My Department administers the Thatching Grant scheme, where a grant of up to €3,810, or two thirds of the approved cost, whichever is the lesser, is available. In the case of medical card holders, a grant of up to €6,350, or up to 80% of the approved cost, may be payable in respect of houses situated on the mainland, rising to €8,252 where the house is situated on a specified off-shore island.  Eligibility under the grant scheme is contingent on the house being occupied as a normal place of residence on completion of the approved works.

Finally, my Department also provides financial support for the protection of heritage buildings and historic structures through two grant schemes which are, in the main, administered by the local authorities. These are the Built Heritage Investment Scheme (BHIS) and the Historic Structures Fund (HSF). Each scheme received funding of €3m for 2021. This year’s schemes are now closed but details of the 2022 schemes will be announced in November.  

Defective Building Materials

 268. Deputy Francis Noel Duffy Information on Francis Noel Duffy Zoom on Francis Noel Duffy asked the Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage Information on Darragh O'Brien Zoom on Darragh O'Brien if the MICA redress scheme will be reviewed with the Minister for the Environment, Climate and Communications to consider the concerns raised by families impacted by this defect; if he has considered allowing the working group examining housing defects to review the MICA redress scheme; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [30311/21]

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 sets out a number of commitments in respect of the important policy area of building defects and provides for an examination of defects in housing, having regard to the recommendations of the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Housing report, "Safe as Houses".

The terms of reference of the working group to examine defects in housing does not include a review of the current financial assistance scheme for the Remediation of Dwellings Damaged due to the use of Defective Concrete Blocks.

The Defective Concrete Blocks Grant Scheme only opened for applications in June 2020 but already 433 homeowners have applied for grant assistance. The scheme needs to be given time to demonstrate that it will work for  homeowners. It would be premature to consider making changes at this point but I am keeping progress under the scheme under review and engaging directly with both local authorities and local action groups on the matter.

Real Estate Investment Trusts

 269. Deputy Ruairí Ó Murchú Information on Ruairí Ó Murchú Zoom on Ruairí Ó Murchú asked the Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage Information on Darragh O'Brien Zoom on Darragh O'Brien the number of investment funds known to his Department that have acquired apartments, duplexes and family homes in County Louth. [30318/21]

Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage (Deputy Darragh O'Brien): Information on Darragh O'Brien Zoom on Darragh O'Brien My Department does not collect data in relation to the ownership of individual housing units purchased and sold in the housing market.

  I understand that data published by market commentators indicates that approximately 15,500 units were owned by investment trusts at the end of 2020.

Local Authorities

 270. Deputy Thomas Gould Information on Thomas Gould Zoom on Thomas Gould 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 recent reports that Cork County Council is significantly underfunded; and his plans to address the issue. [30348/21]

Minister of State at the Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage (Deputy Peter Burke): Information on Peter Burke Zoom on Peter Burke The funding system for local authorities is complex, with authorities deriving their income from a variety of sources including commercial rates, charges for goods and services and funding from Central Government. Local authorities vary significantly from one another in terms of size, population, population distribution, public service demands, infrastructure and other income sources, all factors which should be taken into account when comparing levels of funding in different local authority areas.

Most of the funding from Central Government must be used for specified services. These can be grouped into 5 broad programme categories: recreational, education, environment, housing and transport. Across all schemes and funding sources, the Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage provided €135.3m and €167.5m to Cork County Council in 2019 and 2020 respectively. The increase between 2019 and 2020 is due to an increase in housing funding, as well as funding in respect of the Covid-19 rates waiver and other Covid related expenses that occurred in 2020. No report concerning funding specific to Cork County Council has been referred to my Department.

It is a matter for each local authority to consider how it can maximise local income sources and manage its own spending, in the context of the annual budgetary process. Local authority members may decide, as part of that process, to vary the ARV and LPT in order to increase the revenue available to them.  I note that for 2020 and 2021 Cork County Council raised the LPT rate by +5% and +7.5% respectively.

The power to vary LPT is a reserved function and local authorities must balance expenditure priorities against available resources. To achieve that balance, the elected members must make necessary choices to balance the level of service provision with the available income. For 2021, 22 of the local authorities throughout the country opted to vary their local property tax upwards while only three have opted to vary it downwards. Arising from these variation decisions, the local authority sector will gain an additional €11.5 million from LPT when compared with 2020.

LPT funding for all local authorities will be kept under review in the context of the recently announced LPT revaluation process.  

Housing Schemes

 271. Deputy Cian O'Callaghan Information on Cian O'Callaghan Zoom on Cian O'Callaghan asked the Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage Information on Darragh O'Brien Zoom on Darragh O'Brien the way a person can access the chat function on the Rebuilding Ireland website; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [30350/21]

Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage (Deputy Darragh O'Brien): Information on Darragh O'Brien Zoom on Darragh O'Brien Both the Rebuilding Ireland Home Loan website and call centre are managed by the Housing Agency which has indicated that the chat function is available.  However the Agency has advised that under GDPR the user must activate the Zendesk permissions offered in order to initiate the chat function.

  Visitors to the site can update their preferences should they wish to avail of the chat function during the contact centre working hours. They can leave a message and will receive a response should they be using the website outside of these hours.

  Additionally visitors to the website are provided with the contact details of all Local Authorities, who can also assist with Rebuilding Ireland Home Loan queries, which are available through the below link –

http://rebuildingirelandhomeloan.ie/localauthorities/.  

Rental Sector

 272. Deputy Cian O'Callaghan Information on Cian O'Callaghan Zoom on Cian O'Callaghan asked the Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage Information on Darragh O'Brien Zoom on Darragh O'Brien if renters will be protected from potential rent increases of 8% in some instances; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [30372/21]

Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage (Deputy Darragh O'Brien): Information on Darragh O'Brien Zoom on Darragh O'Brien The Emergency Measures in the Public Interest (Covid-19) Act 2020 provided that a rent increase was not permitted to take effect during the relevant emergency period from 27 March 2020 to 1 August 2020. From 1 August 2020, the blanket ban on rent increases inside or outside of a Rent Pressure Zone (RPZ) was lifted. Despite the lifting of the ban, the standardised average rent rose by just 2.5% to €1,256 from Q2 2020 to Q3 2020 and remained at that level in Q4 2020.

The Residential Tenancies and Valuation Act 2020 (RTVA) provided that rent increases were not permitted to take effect during an emergency period, from 1 August 2020 until 10 January 2021, for tenants with rent arrears due to Covid-19 and at risk of losing their tenancy who make the necessary declaration.  This ban on rent increases was targeted at the most vulnerable of tenants inside and outside of RPZs.

The Planning and Development, and Residential Tenancies, Act 2020 (PDRTA) provides that a rent increase is not permitted to take effect during an emergency period from 11 January 2021 until 12 July 2021, for tenants with rent arrears due to Covid-19 and at risk of losing their tenancy who make the necessary declaration. This ban on rent increases is also targeted at the most vulnerable of tenants inside and outside of RPZs. The delimiting of landlords’ constitutionally protected property rights has been carefully and effectively targeted in this regard.

Rent reviews could be carried out at all times during the pandemic and rent decreases could, and can, take effect. A rent increase is not payable by relevant tenants in respect of the emergency periods identified above. It is payable by relevant tenants from the end of the given emergency period.

The maximum rent increase is 4% per annum in RPZs, irrespective of the emergency legislation. Where a rent increase cannot be given effect for certain tenants during an emergency period, a total increase of greater than 4% can apply where the necessary rent review notice(s) have been served. In all cases, a tenant must be given 90 days’ notice before a rent increase takes effect.

The targeted ban on rent increases under the PDRTA is due to expire on 12 July 2021. A further extension of the PDRTA protections is currently under consideration, to afford more time to the most vulnerable tenants to recover their financial stability.

The emergency protections against rent increases and evictions for the most vulnerable tenants has meant that they could remain in their home and not face higher rent during the pandemic.  The annual 4% rent increase restriction in RPZs is the maximum allowable increase and landlords are encouraged to consider their tenants’ situation in the context of any rent review.

My Department, the Housing Agency and the RTB keep the operation of the rental market under review. Comprehensive rental legislation is planned for the Autumn, with provisions to help provide long term security of tenure for tenants at affordable rents.  

Regional Development

 273. Deputy Joe McHugh Information on Joe McHugh Zoom on Joe McHugh asked the Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage Information on Darragh O'Brien Zoom on Darragh O'Brien if all associated services, for example, water, energy and sewerage are aligned with current plans for the development of Letterkenny under the 2040 plan and in view of its city region status; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [30388/21]

Minister of State at the Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage (Deputy Peter Burke): Information on Peter Burke Zoom on Peter Burke It is primarily the role of the local authority, Donegal County Council to bring forward plans for Letterkenny in accordance with the National Planning Framework for Ireland to 2040.  As you are aware, Letterkenny is identified as a Regional Growth and Cross-Border Driver in that strategy and forms part of the wider cross-border Derry City functional area/city-region.

I understand in this regard that a proposed regeneration strategy for Letterkenny entitled “Letterkenny 2040” has been commissioned by Donegal County Council and that a multi-disciplinary team has been appointed to help Donegal County Council bring forward this project. 

I am encouraged to see local authorities planning and leading on innovative projects that align with and support the objectives of Project Ireland 2040.  At this initial stage, planning for capacity to deliver services to support this local initiative and the associated capital strategy is a matter for Donegal County Council in the first instance, but my Department will provide all necessary support as apporiate, having regard to overall national and regional, as well as local objectives.  

Housing Schemes

 274. Deputy Thomas Gould Information on Thomas Gould Zoom on Thomas Gould asked the Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage Information on Darragh O'Brien Zoom on Darragh O'Brien if the rent contribution agreement as required to be signed by HAP tenants has statutory footing; if so, the location same can be found; and if not, if the document differs by local authority. [30404/21]

Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage (Deputy Darragh O'Brien): Information on Darragh O'Brien Zoom on Darragh O'Brien In order for a household to qualify for the Housing Assistance Payment (HAP), they must first be assessed as eligible for social housing support by their local authority. Any household assessed as eligible for social housing is immediately eligible for HAP. Legislation provides that HAP is considered to be a form of social housing support and households in receipt of HAP are therefore, not eligible to remain on the main housing waiting list.

All households in receipt of HAP pay a differential rent based on the rent scheme set by the relevant local authority. The right of local authorities to set and collect rents on their dwellings is set out in section 58 of the Housing Act 1966.

HAP tenants are required to a sign rent contribution agreement, to pay a weekly rental contribution to the relevant local authority, in line with the local authority’s differential rent scheme.  As set out in the rent contribution agreement, this weekly rental contribution must be paid by them so that they remain eligible for the HAP scheme.

Foreign Policy

 275. Deputy Richard Boyd Barrett Information on Richard Boyd Barrett Zoom on Richard Boyd Barrett asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney his views on sanctions against Israel; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [30266/21]

Minister for Foreign Affairs (Deputy Simon Coveney): Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney Ireland does not have any unilateral sanctions regimes, but implements EU sanctions, adopted as part of the Common Foreign and Security Policy, and UN sanctions. There are currently no EU or UN sanctions in place against Israel.

Decisions on the adoption, renewal or lifting of EU sanctions regimes are taken by the Council of the European Union on proposal from the EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and on the basis of unanimity. Equivalent decisions on UN sanctions are taken by the UN Security Council.

Citizenship Applications

 276. Deputy Catherine Murphy Information on Catherine Murphy Zoom on Catherine Murphy asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney the way in which the American birth children of an Irish citizen may be granted Irish citizenship; the general duration of the process from application to grant; and if there are mechanisms in which the process can be expedited. [30406/21]

Minister for Foreign Affairs (Deputy Simon Coveney): Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney Entitlement to Irish citizenship is determined by the Irish Nationality and Citizenship Act 1956, as amended, under which Irish citizenship may be obtained by birth, by descent, or by naturalisation.

For individuals born outside of Ireland, they may claim citizenship if they had at least one parent who was born in the island of Ireland and where that parent is an Irish citizen.  An individual born on the island of Ireland before 2005 is automatically an Irish citizen. 

Individuals born outside of Ireland can also claim citizenship through a parent who was not born in Ireland but was an Irish citizen at the time of the individual's birth, or through a grandparent born in Ireland. Individuals who wish to claim citizenship through these means must have his/her birth entered on the Foreign Births Register (FBR). Citizenship commences after inclusion on the FBR. Further details regarding the process can be consulted at the Passport Service's website.

The Department of Foreign Affairs operates a clear and transparent general policy for processing FBR applications. In situations where the completion of registrations potentially impact on the rights of a person, it will consider urgent requests to expedite registered applications on a case by case basis. Such applicants are advised on the Department’s website to make contact with the Passport Service through the WebChat service.

An individual may also apply for Irish citizenship through naturalisation. Minimum residency terms must be satisfied before an individual is eligible for citizenship through naturalisation. The Department of Justice is responsible for citizenship matters, including applications for naturalisation.

EU Programmes

 277. Deputy Rose Conway-Walsh Information on Rose Conway-Walsh Zoom on Rose Conway-Walsh asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney if a unanimous vote is required in the European Council to provide the European Commission with negotiation mandate for third country accession to the Horizon Europe programme; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [30322/21]

 278. Deputy Rose Conway-Walsh Information on Rose Conway-Walsh Zoom on Rose Conway-Walsh asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney if a unanimous vote is required to approve and renew an accession agreement of a third country to the Horizon Europe programme; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [30323/21]

 279. Deputy Rose Conway-Walsh Information on Rose Conway-Walsh Zoom on Rose Conway-Walsh asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney the configuration of the European Council which is responsible for approving the mandate for third country association of third countries to Horizon Europe; when he anticipates that this will be on the agenda; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [30324/21]

 280. Deputy Rose Conway-Walsh Information on Rose Conway-Walsh Zoom on Rose Conway-Walsh asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney the configuration of the European Council which is responsible for approving an association agreement negotiated by the European Commission with a third country for Horizon Europe; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [30325/21]

 281. Deputy Rose Conway-Walsh Information on Rose Conway-Walsh Zoom on Rose Conway-Walsh asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney if Ireland will oppose or support the European Commission request for a negotiating mandate for an association agreement with Israel for Horizon Europe; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [30326/21]

Minister for Foreign Affairs (Deputy Simon Coveney): Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney I propose to take Questions Nos. 277 to 281, inclusive, together.

  With respect to association to Horizon Europe by third countries, the criteria and principles regarding participation are set out in Article 16 of Regulation (EU) 2021/695, the Horizon Europe Regulation.

  Under the Horizon Europe Regulation, there are four categories of association countries:

a. Members of the European Free Trade Association, which are members of the EEA – including Norway and Iceland; b. Enlargement countries; c. Neighbourhood Policy Countries; d. Other third countries and territories that fulfil the criteria outlined in the Horizon Europe Regulation.

The Department of Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science leads on Horizon Europe. The Competitiveness Council (Research and Innovation) is the Council configuration responsible for Horizon Europe. The Working Party on Research is the relevant preparatory body.

In respect of Israel, as a category c country, its participation in EU programmes, including Horizon Europe, is governed by the specific conditions laid down in the EU-Israel Association Agreement. In accordance with EU policy, this agreement does not apply to the geographic areas that came under the administration of the State of Israel after 5 June 1967.

For category c countries, the Commission prepares a template agreement which is circulated to Member States for information. No Council Decision or negotiating mandate is required. The Commission expects the negotiations with these countries to take place between June and October 2021.

  Question No. 278 answered with Question No. 277.

  Question No. 279 answered with Question No. 277.

  Question No. 280 answered with Question No. 277.

  Question No. 281 answered with Question No. 277.


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