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O'Sullivan, Jan

Thursday, 1 May 2014

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. Nbr.

Wind Energy Guidelines

As I indicated during the discussions on the Private Members' Wind Turbine Regulation Bill 2014, the Government did not oppose the Bill on Second Stage on the basis that some of the issues raised i...More Button

To answer the Deputy's point directly, as I have stated already, the matter is addressed in the existing wind energy guidelines, which include a recommendation that development plan maps would iden...More Button

The larger ones will be going directly to An Bord Pleanála. An Bord Pleanála does have regard to the various planning laws and guidelines in terms of making decisions.More Button

With regard to the Deputy's point on the Green Paper, the Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources, Deputy Rabbitte, will be publishing that shortly. On the guidelines, there is...More Button

First, we are proposing an improvement with regard to noise levels. Second, I will take note of the various submissions.More Button

I commenced a public consultation in December 2013 on proposed “draft” revisions to the 2006 Wind Energy Guidelines focussing specifically on the issues of noise, setbacks and shadow flicker. These...More Button

- The setting of a more stringent day and night noise limit of 40 decibels for future wind energy developments; - A mandatory minimum setback of 500 metres between a wind turbine and the nearest ...More Button

- The complete elimination of shadow flicker.More Button

My Department received some 7,500 submissions from organisations and members of the public during the public consultation period and the submissions – which are currently being considered - will ...More Button

  Question No. 133 answered with Question No. 121.More Button

Wind Energy Guidelines (Continued)

Third, with regard to setback, they are now statutory guidelines, so we are strengthening the guidelines in that regard. We will take account of the submissions-----More Button

-----and I do not wish to pre-empt what the decision will be. To clarify the matter of the Green Paper, that was approved by the Government yesterday and I presume it will be published in the near...More Button

Housing Policy

The Government’s housing policy statement of June 2011 acknowledged the capacity and track record of the voluntary and co-operative housing sector, and placed approved housing bodies, AHBs, at the ...More Button

Housing Policy (Continued)

In February this year I announced the establishment of an interim regulatory committee for the sector to oversee the implementation of the code and to advise on the development of statutory regul...More Button

Implementation of the voluntary code will be a valuable source of information about the scope and final content of the proposed statutory regulatory framework to be developed by 2016. In additio...More Button

My understanding is that there is no legal obstacle to local authorities establishing housing associations if they wish to do so. I agree with the Deputy's comments on the difficulties in accessin...More Button

I attended the first meeting of the interim regulatory committee in the Housing Agency's offices. It is working hard to engage with voluntary bodies, financial institutions and so on to determin...More Button

I have arranged to meet the directors of services for housing in the near future. One of the issues that I want to discuss with them is the provision of housing, but also the issue of voids, which...More Button

I also want to meet the approved housing bodies, AHBs, on a regular basis to help them however we can in accessing funding. The capital advance leasing facility, CALF, provides for 25% of the co...More Button

Departmental Investigations

In accordance with section 255 of the Planning and Development Act 2000, as amended, I appointed MacCabe Durney Barnes to carry out an independent review of planning issues in respect of six of the...More Button

The terms of reference require the consultants to undertake a review of planning issues raised in respect of the six planning authorities concerned, particularly regarding the organisation and th...More Button

The consultants may consult with those persons, with their agreement, who raised the planning issues concerned in order to identify, clarify and understand the planning matters arising that may n...More Button

It was my predecessor as Minister of State who decided to carry out an internal review, which made useful recommendations. Some have been implemented and others will be implemented in the forthcom...More Button

Departmental Investigations (Continued)

The reason we decided to have a further external review was essentially because of the court decision. I took the view following the court decision in respect of Donegal that it was necessary to...More Button

That was one factor.More Button

To clarify the matter, I did not say it had no result. In fact, I said it made recommendations, some of which we have already implemented and some of which we will implement in future. Therefore,...More Button

It was around inconsistencies in practice by planning authorities and it was initiated by the then Minister, Mr. Gormley, on that basis. The review we carried out had exactly the same terms of ref...More Button

One of the factors that arose in carrying out the external review was the court case. There was a suggestion from the people who had originally made the complaints. They were picked more or les...More Button

National Spatial Strategy

The 2002 national spatial strategy, NSS, was Ireland’s first national strategic spatial planning framework. It aimed to provide the spatial vision and principles to achieve a better balance of soc...More Button

National Spatial Strategy (Continued)

It is early days as the Government only has to hand the scoping document at present. However, anyone who agrees with and seeks good and proper planning would accept the concept of gateways and the...More Button

Briefly, I agree with the Deputy that there always is a danger in any country that the capital city becomes the centre and the regions are not supported adequately. I certainly share the Deputy's ...More Button

-----and that policies are put in place to ensure those strengths are developed.More Button

Semi-State Bodies Privatisation

We are a sovereign nation.More Button

Housing Provision: Motion (Resumed) [Private Members] (Continued)

I am a public representative; I know all about it.More Button

They are included in the initial figure given by the Deputy.More Button

Is the Deputy suggesting that we take rent supplement away from the people in the Gallery?More Button

Planning Issues

Section 28 of the Planning and Development (Amendment) Act 2010 already provides that the duration of a planning permission may be extended where substantial works have not been carried out, or whe...More Button

This provision is, however, subject to the submission of an application for extension of duration of permission prior to the expiration of the original permission, and the planning authority bein...More Button

(i) there have been no significant changes in the development objectives in the development plan or in regional development objectives in the relevant regional planning guidelines since the date of...More Button

(ii) the development would not be inconsistent with the proper planning and sustainable development of the area, having regard to any planning guidelines issued by the Minister under section 28 of ...More Button

(iii) the development has not commenced and that an environmental impact assessment, or an appropriate assessment , or both of those assessments, if required, were carried out before the original p...More Button

Where the development which has been granted permission is now deemed to be inconsistent with the proper planning and sustainable development of the area, having regard to any subsequent updating...More Button

  Question No. 12 answered orally.More Button

I propose to take Questions Nos. 26 and 30 together. More Button

Section 180 of the Planning and Development Act 2000, as amended, sets out the process by which local authorities can take in charge housing estates. When taking an estate in charge under the ter...More Button

The Water Services (No. 2) Act 2013 provides for the transfer of responsibility for the provision of public water services from local authorities to Irish Water. In addition, it provides a mechan...More Button

In Circular Letter PL 21/13 issued by my Department to planning authorities on 30 December 2013 in the light of the transfer of certain statutory water services functions from local authorities t...More Button

In order to clarify the current up-to-date position with regard to the taking in charge of estates, my Department will shortly issue a further circular letter to planning authorities with a view ...More Button

The finalisation of any outstanding planning related matters affecting the development concerned are a matter for Kildare County Council and I have no function in such matters.More Button

Following the insertion of subsection (2A) into section 180 of the Planning and Development Act 2000, by the Planning and Development (Amendment) Act 2010, planning authorities are not prevented ...More Button

Local Authority Housing

The procedures for assessing the eligibility of households for social housing support and allocating that support were overhauled and updated in the Housing (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 2009 and ...More Button

I keep the 2009 Act and associated regulations under review in the light of experience with their operation at local level and developments in the social housing sector generally. In that context...More Button

  Question No. 15 answered with Question No. 9.More Button

There are two types of house purchase loan available from local authorities: standard annuity loans targeted at lower income first time buyers and those under the Home Choice Loan scheme which are ...More Button

Rental Accommodation Scheme Administration

The original objectives of the Rental Accommodation Scheme (RAS) were set out in a Government decision in July 2004 to provide ‘a more structured approach to long-term rental housing assistance nee...More Button

The quality of housing sourced, security of tenure and, within reason, choice of location are considered to be at the heart of the scheme, and a measure of an authority’s duty of care to its tena...More Button

RAS involves local authorities paying landlords market rate rents for property they lease, while also seeking discount from the market rate where possible. This is done on the basis of the guaran...More Button

The tenant, for their part, has a contract with the housing authority, whereby they agree to pay a rental contribution to the authority based on the relevant differential rent scheme and not to e...More Button

When transfers first commenced under RAS in 2005 the differences between the minimum contribution on rent supplement (at the time €13) and a payment under differential rent (charges vary from aut...More Button

In the same way, under the social housing leasing initiative, it is the local authority or approved housing body that contracts with a property owner in a leasing arrangement, to make accommodati...More Button

For both RAS and leasing the tenant’s rent is determined under the local authority’s differential rent scheme and therefore is not impacted by increasing market rents. In this context i t is the...More Button

In addition, all RAS and leasing tenants are social housing tenants and as such the local authority retains the responsibility for their ongoing accommodation needs.More Button

Housing Issues

The financial parameters within which we continue to operate will not facilitate an early return to large-scale capital funded local authority housing construction programmes. Earlier this year, I ...More Button

In 2014, funding for my Department’s housing programme, at over €587 million, is effectively maintained at 2013 levels. This includes a €50 million capital stimulus to support construction-relate...More Button

In March, I announced the approval of some 56 social housing construction projects with an overall value of some €68 million under the local authority housing construction programme for 2014-2015...More Button

I am concerned at the high levels of vacant social housing units across all local authority areas, with almost 4,000 properties or just over 3% of the entire stock being vacant at present. Refurb...More Button

Census figures from 2011 showed that over 230,000 houses and apartments, excluding holiday homes, were vacant at that time. While many of these may not be available or suitable for use as social ...More Button

Tenant Purchase Scheme Administration

The Government yesterday approved the text of the Housing (Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill 2014 and its presentation to the Dáil. Among other things, the Bill will underpin a new incremental purchas...More Button

On the initial sale of the house, to the tenant, the housing authority will place a discount-related charge on the property that will dwindle away over a period of 20, 25 or 30 years depending on...More Button

Homelessness Strategy

My Department’s role in relation to homelessness involves the provision of a national framework of policy, legislation and funding to underpin the role of housing authorities in addressing homeless...More Button

  Question No. 25 answered with Question No. 9.More Button

Housing Adaptation Grant Funding

On 16 January 2014, I announced details of the capital allocations under the suite of Housing Adaptation Grants for Older People and People with a Disability. The schemes are funded by 80% recoupme...More Button

Private Residential Tenancies Board

The Private Residential Tenancies Board (PRTB) was established under the Residential Tenancies Act 2004 to operate a national tenancy registration system and to resolve disputes between landlords a...More Button

Seaweed Harvesting Licences

There are currently 10 applications for licences to harvest seaweed under the Foreshore Act 1933 before my Department. These applications are from both individual and commercial applicants and are ...More Button

Unfinished Housing Developments

The information requested was compiled as part of the 2012 National Housing Survey and can be downloaded from the Housing Agency’s website by clicking 2012 Individual County Figures at the followin...More Button

I propose to take Questions Nos. 121 and 133 together.

  Budget 2014 contains a special provision, in the form of a targeted €10m Special Resolution Fund (SRF), to assist further...More Button

Private Rented Accommodation Deposits

The Programme for Government contains a commitment to establish a tenancy deposit protection scheme. On foot of this commitment I asked the Private Residential Tenancies Board (PRTB) to commission ...More Button

I have considered all of the options presented in the report in order to determine how to offer the greatest protection to tenants at least cost to the Exchequer and in this regard recently secur...More Button

Legislative provisions for the scheme, which are currently being drafted by Parliamentary Counsel, will be included in the Residential Tenancies (Amendment) (No. 2) Bill 2012 at Committee stage i...More Button

Private Rented Accommodation Costs and Controls

The private rented sector is an increasingly important element of the housing market, with the proportion of households in the sector almost doubling in the period 2006-2011. More Button

Against this background, the growing evidence of increasing rents, particularly in Dublin, is a cause for concern. The recent publication of the Private Residential Tenancies Board (PRTB) rent in...More Button

Nationally, rents for houses in the fourth quarter of 2013 were 1.6% higher than the same period in 2012 while rents for apartments were 5.2% higher over the same period. In Dublin, rents for hou...More Button

The Residential Tenancies Act 2004 prohibits the setting of a rent that is greater than the market rent for a particular tenancy. A difficulty arises when there is market failure and there is evi...More Button

The Government is taking steps to address these challenges in the property and construction sectors. These will include developing an overall strategic approach to housing supply, identifying and...More Button

Resolution of the housing supply situation is a key element in restoring stability to the market. In the meantime, I believe there is scope to explore measures that would protect tenants in the s...More Button

In doing this, I am conscious of the need to avoid introducing measures that would have adverse consequences on the private rented sector. My goal is to achieve stability and sustainability in th...More Button

Departmental Schemes

Some €35 million is being set aside for a programme of works under my Department’s Capital Assistance Scheme (CAS) which provides funding to Approved Housing Bodies (AHBs) of up to 100% of the appr...More Button

The proposals received from local authorities for inclusion in the programme of works to be advanced under the CAS over the 2014-2015 period are under consideration in my Department at present. I...More Button

Shared Ownership Scheme

The Government’s 2011 Housing Policy Statement announced the standing down of all affordable housing schemes, including the shared ownership scheme, in the context of a full review of Part V of the...More Button

Local Authority Housing Provision

I propose to take Questions Nos. 129 and 138 together.

  The report on the 2011 Housing Needs Assessment contains details on waiting list numbers for each local authority which w...More Button

Housing Adaptation Grant Data

On 16 January 2014 I announced details of the capital allocations under the suite of Housing Adaptation Grants for Older People and People with a Disability . Funding was increased in 2014 to €38.4...More Button